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Journal

New visual treats

Added: 25-1-2007

Visual eye candy-ahoy! Dave has added a couple of albums to the Gallery, and I've posted another one with pictures of the lovely Herne Bay. Real treats for you...

A quick hi to the Namibian librarians I missed in London the other day. During a meeting at the British library people's headquarters on Tuesday I was informed that a trio of Namibian librarians had been following this journal and wanted to meet me. How strange, but very nice. Anyway, after breaking down the statistics for website visitors I noticed that we were very big last year in both Namibia and the Ivory Coast. Weird eh? But very cool. Hello to all African library people, enjoy, er, the pictures of Herne Bay!


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From Herne Bay in the winter...

Added: 22-1-2007

This is actually my second attempt in recent days at a journal entry, the first one having been eaten while I was sitting at the computers in Herne Bay library. It was a great journal entry, of course, written as it was against a background of children's storytime - the sound of many off-key voices singing 'Bah-Bah Blacksheep' is really the sort of thing to inspire good writing.

So this second attempt to get something new up comes once again from Herne Bay, on a day of appalling weather and why-did-I-ever-leave-the-house type feelings. I am deep into a schedule of work now, juggling articles on the walk (for Germany's premier libary journal!) with 'proper' work for my old employers. Not enough hours in the day at the moment to fulfill all my writing commitments and do as much reading as I would like of the huge pile of American sociology books I have building up in my flat. It's a hard life.

Aside from work, fitness is slowly and surely being returned to centre stage in my waking life. No exercise for weeks after my operation and then a rigorous Christmas and New Year drinking schedule...well, things were not looking good. Now I am finally finding time to get working out again and yesterday managed a four or five mile walk along the coast from Herne Bay to its posher cousin Whitstable. Extremely windy, quite cold but it all felt good anyway.

This is probably because at the moment I am feeling pretty good. In response to a few emails I received about the vague nature of my cancer/illness comments in previous journal entries, I am now able to say that at present I appear to be doing quite well. My blood tests have all come back normal recently, and last week I received the news that my CT scan (for which I had to drink the nasty contrast) had come back clear, meaning that at present I could be considered pretty healthy. The next step is to consult my oncologist and another specialist in London about a possible surveillance schedule (At this point I feel it is unlikely that they will convince me to have adjuvant chemotherapy, it appears that such a course would not actually do me any good at this point, in light of the type of tumour I had removed). After that I will really need to work on the effects of such a decision on the walk, in particular whether or not I will be able to have check ups and whatnot in the US without it costing me tens of thousands of dollars.

So there you go, a health status update and a brief return to cancer diary. Still, so many people have sent me nice wishes that it's probably best to be a bit less obtuse about my current situation. As far as I can tell, I am fine (for now!)


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Contrast

Added: 12-1-2007

Back in England. finally. so much travelling in the last five weeks or so, since I got back from the US I seem to be only staying in any one place for a few days or so and then jetting off somewhere else. I figure my carbon footprint is truly lamentable.

therefore I'm stopping. staying in one place for a bit, and that place is Herne Bay. back to the familar sights, sound and smells of my youth etc (for those of you still unfamiliar with Herne Bay you can check out the very informative Wikipedia article here. and yes, that's right, it does say we likely have the very first free standing purpose built clocktower in the world. stick that in your pipe and smoke it Whitstable!). very much looking forward to it, at least three weeks of not going anywhere, there's hardly anyone around to go out with and most of the pubs are generally so unwelcoming that all the factors are in place for some major hibernation. so hibernate I will - and finally get to work on the book of the walk, something that has been on my mind since I stopped walking but something I just haven't found much time to get on with. all that should change now that one of my best mate's parents, Dave and Lynda, have kindly agreed to let me stay in one of their spare upstairs rooms for a couple of weeks, a room with a rather fantastic sea view and the much needed quiet that I've been craving for weeks.

so, once more I will attempt to become a writer. the results should be interesting (one hopes).

in other news, this morning I had a CT scan and I would advise anyone considering cancer not to get it because drinking contrast (you have to do this to make certain areas of your body show up on the scan) really sucks. not only does it smell of aniseed, it kinda leaves a really minging chalky taste in your mouth. overall conclusion: not looking forward to drinking it again.

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New Pics Added

Added: 6-1-2007 1

New pics up in the Galllery, total indulgence in that they are mostly pictures of my friends over Christmas and New Year. You can really see why Dave takes the pics now...anyway, enjoy...


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Resolutions

Added: 4-1-2007 1

Back and fresh for 2007. A giant happy new year to those of you guys still checking in on the journal, hope you all made it through whatever the end of the year had to throw at you...me, I made it over to Hamburg in Germany where we threw a party with some fine friends. Good times, good drinks, good dancing. Good staying out skills - I got to bed at midday on January 1st after a drunken bicycle ride across Hamburg with a passenger on the back. Have no idea how I did it seeing as it revealed one crucial fact about the last two months since the walk finished - I have lost a lot of fitness.

Now, a twenty minute bike ride on the flat while carrying a (admittedly lightweight) passenger, followed by a hike up five flights of stairs to some breakfast, all after being up for 24 hours - this kind of activity is going to knacker anyone. Saying that, I think a few months ago, during the walk, I would have been able to knock out one or two of these activites in a day. What I've unfortunately noticed is that the kind of fitness required to walk twenty miles a day, five days in a row, this kind of fitness slips away slowly, almost in embarassment, the more that one moves back into an old life of sitting down at computers or getting up late. Add into this the pain in the side I've had for the last few weeks because of my surgery and you'll understand that my exercise regime is sadly minimal. I've been walking as much as I can - there was a good four miles on Christmas Eve and another few on Boxing Day, and every day sees me walk somewhere - but sadly things are not in a good way. Therefore it is with great relief that I have now passed New Year's Eve, a symbolic date for all of us because it means that for a few weeks at least we can all believe that we will stick to a rigid exercise regime.

And exercise I will. At least once I get back from Denmark, where I head off to again tomorrow. I need to regain a little bit of lung power, and get out and about each day a bit more. My surgery has completely healed now and I am feeling 100% again. The whole cancer thing that I am wrapped up in is mostly to blame for my lack of fitness I know (that and endless 'catching up' sessions in the pub), and to have the first stage of this behind me is a right relief. I feel very good right now, the results I've had back on various things are encouraging, and the next step is a set of CT scans that will enable me to make a final decision on how I will treat my my brand new walking partner (er, TC, as it is known in the trade. It's my new year's resolution to introduce new acronyms to the journal). If everything goes to plan it will be some sort of badass surveillance regime, if not there might be some chemotherapy involved. Either way I have a few weeks to start getting fitter. Wish me luck...

All for now. Keep eyes on the gallery for pics from both Dave's and my Christmas/New Year....


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E-mail: stu@walkingthestates.com and dave@walkingthestates.com | Phone: (00 1) 301 538 0308