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I would make a great zombie

So a week after I survived the zombie apocalypse, it was MY turn to be the zombie and hunt down those pesky little humans running around. I arrived at Zombie HQ on my own (I didn’t volunteer with anyone, and this worked out quite well as I saw a lot of groups/friends/couples being split up), feeling a little nervous, and hoping to get a ‘nice, easy role’ as I was still feeling the aches in my legs from playing the game and I didn’t fancy any more of that thank you very much. I got chatting with a few people in the queue as I waited to check in, they had already volunteered the night before so were able to tell me what I could expect.

All zombied up and ready to eat some brains

All zombied up and ready to eat some brains

On check-in I learnt that I wasn’t going to have an easy night. Oh no, I was going to be put to work as a type 2 zombie (fast, think World War Z) in the largest zone of the game, zone 9 (Spillers) which I had already identified as the hardest part of the game when I played it as a survivor the week before. As our zone was towards the end of the route we were the last group to be briefed (a short replay of Zombie School), warmed up and sent to costume and make-up. Make-up was quite fun, first off we were covered in white face paint with a bit of black to hollow out the face and the eyes, and then splattered with fake blood. The end result looked pretty good I thought…

Once ready we boarded the bus and were deposited at our location where we checked the area to ensure it was safe, i.e. no broken bottles or piles of dog mess to fall in to, did a warm up of the body and the vocal chords and got ourselves in to position ready for the first group of victims survivors.

Zone 9 (Spillers) zombies - 27th June

Zone 9 (Spillers) zombies – 27th June

As a fast zombie I was armed with a pen to mark anyone I caught in the hope that they would then be infected. I felt a lot of pressure at this point – what if I didn’t catch anyone?! I was stationed at the very last stretch across the car park, maybe 50 – 75 metres from safety… hoping that players would be exhausted by the time they got to me, and hopefully easier to catch!

The first couple of groups got through ok, a little bit of intimidation and chase but no one was caught I don’t think. I was definitely a bit nervous to start with, I don’t know about my fellow zombies, so I felt it took me a few times to get in to the swing of things. It was hard being the chaser on the last stretch as I constantly found myself at the ‘safety zone’ just as I was getting up to speed, so I’d have to back off and turn around… and boy was it a long zombie stagger back to my original position!

I don’t want to go in to too much detail and give away any valuable information on how to survive as there are still games to be played in other cities and we don’t want to give any players the upper hand! But, after a while I did develop a tactic which helped me. As the players ran across the car park and began to get close to being level with me I would start hobbling towards them, slowly gaining momentum until they were level with me and would then break out in to an all out sprint… I caught a lot of people off guard, helping me to catch at least 10 people (I didn’t keep an exact count as it was all too busy and crazy to be keeping numbers in my head). As someone who was a bit chubby at school and was never one for sports or athletics I can’t describe how great it was to hear some of the players remark at how fast I was, it was quite hard to stay in character whilst you’re trying not to smile with self-satisfaction. It was funny to see some people who clearly thought they were running as fast as they could and then realised I was right behind them, all of a sudden the adrenaline would kick in and they found a new high speed – it was great to watch! In some ways that was better than actually catching players, as the game is all about getting the adrenaline flowing and trying to survive – but I couldn’t let everyone slip through like that, what about my ego?!

If I’d thought it was hard work surviving the apocalypse the week before, that was nothing compared to being one of the zombies. The area I was in was by far the hardest zone to get through as a player (at least in my experience as a player) so to spend three hours in that zone chasing hundreds of people (fair enough it wasn’t the whole length of the zone) over and over again was exhausting. There were a few times I chased people to the edge of the safe zone and would turn around to drag/stagger/hobble my way back to my starting position (and my bottle of water!) ready for a nice lie down on the floor and a little rest, only to find more groups entering the zone – no rest for the wicked I suppose!

As it began to get dark we were told that the last group had made it through and we would soon be back on the bus and headed to the zombie disco. I was shocked to see that it was nearly 11pm and we had been on the go for nearly three hours, but I was definitely ready to sit down and chill out! After de-briefing, returning costumes etc my fellow zone zombies and I made our way to the zombie disco. At the entrance to the disco we bumped in to a player who recognised us from our zone and informed me that loads of players had been talking about the fast blonde zombie at the end, and that they thought I must’ve caught the most people. I have no idea how accurate that is, and I doubt I caught the most people, but nonetheless I was absolutely thrilled to be described in such a way!

On arrival at the zombie disco I was hyper, but one quick drink and a sit down and I realised how exhausted I was! Would I do it again? Definitely… both as a runner and as a player. Bring on 2015!

To read all about Zombie School please click here.

To read about my experience of running away from the zombies please click here.

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This time next year we’ll be millionaires!

This time next year we'll be millionaires

Not likely, unless I finally win the EuroMillions, but as someone who has watched a lot of Only Fools and Horses that just felt like the obvious end to the start of that sentence. In actual fact this time next year I will be in Peru ready to tackle the great Inca Trail Trek! (For more information about my great challenge see my I know what I’m doing blog post)

It’s quite scary really, I signed up to the challenge six short months ago and I do not know where that time has gone! When I signed up I was scared of what I was getting myself in to, I didn’t do a great deal of exercise (mainly walking and pole dance class), I didn’t really know anything about the Inca Trail (I now know a little bit about it) and I was terrified of committing myself to raising a minimum of £3800 – a huge sum of money, substantially more than any figure I have raised for charity previously.

Six short months down the line and I’ve already raised well over half of that amount, and a whole year of fundraising to go! My fitness levels are at the best they have ever been, and although I haven’t started training for long walks I’m pretty confident that my fitness and stamina will be a great help when I finally get around to long walks and hikes….which I WILL get around to soon, I promise!

I’ve suddenly realised that I haven’t actually updated you all on my fundraising activities. At my last update I mentioned that I’d reached the halfway point, and that raffle ticket sales were going well as I’d raised £500 at that point. After the last ticket was sold I’d actually made £706 from the raffle, a fantastic result and a hell of a lot more than the £250 I had hoped for!

Just a small selection of the books I'll be clearing out of my house

Just a small selection of the books I’ll be clearing out of my house

My next fundraising activity is going to be a book sale at work next month. I have a load of books lying around the house that I don’t need, and could certainly do with freeing up the space they are currently occupying…. I could always do with freeing up space in my house! I also have some fantastic colleagues who have generously offered to donate loads of books they no longer want or need so we’re freeing up space all over the place at the minute…. until we spend our pennies at the book sale and bring fresh reading material home that is!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: On the Move

When I saw the topic for this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge, the topic of which is ‘On the Move’ I just couldn’t resist sharing another holiday snap, which totally sums up the description…

Whether on foot, in a kayak, or on a train, we can document our lives easily. More than ever, the moments of our in-betweens are photo-worthy and shareable.

This is a screenshot taken from a video which the hubby made whilst we rode the cable car in San Francisco down to Fisherman’s Wharf. This was hubby’s first ride in a cable car, which just so happened to be so busy that we had to stand and hang on to the sides… he loved it! He had a look on his face like a kid at Christmas… I suppose a photo of him would probably be more appropriate now that I’ve set the scene, but I was holding on to a bag and drink so wasn’t letting go for anything, so here’s a photo of me instead.

On the move in San Francisco

On the move in San Francisco

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring

Far too much time passes between blog posts regarding the preparations for my upcoming charity challenge, to raise £3800 for my local Hospice to trek the Inca Trail next year (read all about it here). So, I am going to combine an update with my entry to this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge, the topic of which is Spring.

Last Monday, (Bank Holiday Monday) I had a pleasant surprise in that my other half finished work a lot earlier than we expected – 12pm instead of 8pm, which was a huge bonus. Not wanting to waste his new-found freedom we decided that we’d go out for a drive around the countryside, which quickly turned in to an adventure to High Force, a stunningly beautiful waterfall near Middleton-in-Teesdale .

High Force waterfall

High Force waterfall

We’ve been to High Force many times but have always stuck to one particular route, for those who are familiar with High Force we have always parked at the pub and taken the trail which leads to the bottom of the waterfall. Every time we have taken this route we have seen people at the top on the other sides of the falls and wondered how the hell they got there. On Monday we decided that we would finally find the route and experience the falls from the other side, which involved a 2-mile walk from our starting point (Bowlees picnic area) to the falls. This provided a fantastic opportunity to finally get the brand spanking new walking boots out of the box and begin ‘breaking them in’ ahead of the Inca Trail next year.

Putting the hiking boots to good use!

Putting the hiking boots to good use!

A couple of friends joined us and we had a lovely afternoon exploring the new trail and delighting in the wonders of Spring…finally bringing me around to the Weekly Photo Challenge that is Spring! I love spring, it is without a doubt my favourite season of the year. Spring is a new dawn, full of life and injecting colour back in to the world, which is so dull and grey and depressing throughout winter. I actually feel myself becoming happier and more positive in spring, it’s almost like I’m part of the whole process!

The best part of spring for me is watching the spring lambs as they find their confidence. You can always tell the new born lambs as they don’t venture too far from their mothers, but then they get to a certain age and all of a sudden they are the most adventurous little balls of white fluff you ever laid eyes on. And have you ever noticed how they seem to become ‘cliquey’ and run around in little gangs? Seriously, I could just watch them frolicking around the countryside all day, they are so damn cute!

Spring lambs causing mischief

Spring lambs causing mischief

Spring lambs

 

Not only did we see many a cute lamb on our little adventure, but also ducklings! If I love anything as much as spring lambs it has got to be ducklings! Unfortunately they were on the far side of the river and didn’t venture our way, but I was still pretty excited to see my first ducklings of the year….that’s right, I know what you’re thinking…I clearly have issues! What can I say? I just love animals!Ducklings

Anyway, all in all we had a lovely afternoon, took a load of photo’s (at which point I should clarify that some of the photo’s I have posted as part of the challenge were taken by me, and some by the other half) and finally began my training (if a 4 mile stroll through the countryside can be classed as training?) for the Inca Challenge.

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: On Top

Ok, ok, I’m joining the party pretty late here but I didn’t check out this (almost last) week’s Weekly Photo Challenge until this morning, and I really wanted to take part so here is my last minute entry!

Given that my blog is mainly about my upcoming challenge, to raise £3800 for my local Hospice so that I may trek the Inca Trail next year, I felt that I had the perfect photograph to share which is both relevant to this week’s photo challenge, and also to my own personal challenge. So here goes, this is me ‘On Top’ of Ben Nevis… or more accurately at the summit of Ben Nevis.

On the summit of the UK's tallest mountain

On the summit of the UK’s tallest mountain

Back in 2010 I tackled my biggest ever personal challenge, (hopefully you’ve guessed it by now!) taking part in the Ben Nevis Challenge, raising money for Breast Cancer Care. It was a looooong day, which I wasn’t fully prepared for… I thought I was prepared, but going out for 3-4 hour walks a few times over the summer, and long lunch time walks were never going to prepare me for the challenge of climbing the UK’s tallest mountain! I can’t tell you how relieved I felt when this photo was taken, finally we were at the top! It only took 5 1/2 long, gruelling hours but we got there eventually. Unfortunately, we still had to get back down which was almost as difficult!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Abandoned

Abandoned outhouse, Bodie Ghost Town

I don’t class myself as much of a photographer, unless I’m rather drunk and it’s a night out with friends when suddenly I’m snap happy, but most of those photo’s turn out blurry anyway, so I’ve never got involved with the Weekly Photo Challenge before. But, when I saw the theme this week was ‘Abandoned’ I felt I could finally take part, even if I am sharing photographs taken by the other half, but hey, what’s mine is his and vice versa right? Well actually, my saying is “what’s his is mine, and what’s mine is mine” I am an only child after all!

Anyhoo, my half loves taking photos of abandoned things, so I actually have plenty of images to choose from for this theme, particularly abandoned vehicles. On this occasion I decided that I would share a few photographs which were taken on our recent holiday to California, more specifically taken at Bodie Ghost Town in Bodie State Park.

Bodie Ghost Town

And just to keep the photographer happy, one with an abandoned car in the landscape…

Abandoned vehicle at Bodie Ghost Town