May 2014 Update

Garry McGivern’s May 2014 update. May is always a good month. The evenings are starting to get nice and light, it’s warming up, and we have two bank holidays! On the first bank holiday, which was on the first weekend of the month, I cycled down to the New Forest, about fifty miles away. I’ve wanted to try my new Hilleberg tent out, which I’ve had since before Christmas. I also wanted to try my new duck-down sleeping bag, which I brought at the same time. But with my back being the way it was, I couldn’t!

I found the cycle down okay and didn’t struggle. It was a fairly flat ride, though! I did, as expected, struggle with the camping part. I was comfortable enough to sleep. It was just the setting up and the de-camping I struggled with, and it caused me to be in quite a lot of pain! Luckily once I’d taken some painkillers the pain eased off! I was pleased with my new tent and sleeping bag although I still prefer my old tent. Unfortunately, they don’t make that model anymore!

London Town

The second weekend of the month, we went up to that there London town. We went to see the Grand Designs Live show based on the Channel 4 TV series presented by Kevin McCloud. The event was packed with over 500 exhibitors across seven different sections, covering interiors, gardens, food and housewares, kitchens and bathrooms, home improvement, self-build, renovations, technology and shopping. It was something different to do and good fun, despite the nightmare we had on the underground trying to get there. Parts of the network were closed due to engineering works, so we ended up going backwards and forwards between two stations, thinking that we were on the wrong tube until we realised that the tube was only going that far and we had to get on another line!


The third weekend of the month was another bank holiday, so I decided to go camping with Julie. Initially, my idea was to catch the train to Southampton with the bikes and then cycle the remaining 10/15 miles to the New Forest. Well I couldn’t really expect Julie to cycle the fifty miles there could I??? The weather forecast for that weekend was typical bank holiday weather: heavy rain and strong winds! With that in mind, I decided to put the bikes on the car and drive down. At least if we had the car, we could get out a bit easier rather than be stuck in the tent.

We set off for the New Forest at about lunchtime on Friday and arrived there by about 3 o’clock. It was very wet, there were puddles everywhere, and some roads were closed due to flooding! Our first choice campsite was blocked because the road leading to it was closed due to the flooding. Our second choice campsite was struggling as half of the site was flooded and were turning people away. We phoned a few more sites. But the story was the same: they were all full due to it being a busy weekend, and most of the sites had limited pitches due to floods!

Now What

I was really bored with this by now and was ready to come home. But in the end, Julie persuaded me that we should try further along the coast and go to Purbeck, which, as it turned out, was a very good choice. The horrendous weather that had been forecast never materialized, or at least not in Purbeck. We had a rain shower first thing on Saturday morning and another shower late Saturday night, but that was it. Down in the New Forest, it had rained all weekend. We later found out from some friends who had been down there. It was a nice weekend spent walking part of the South West Coast Path and cycling in the Purbeck hills, with the evenings spent down the local pub talking to other campers and locals.

My Back

Had a bit of a moan to the hospital at the beginning of the month about the lack of physio I’ve been having! I’d only had four appointments and was still doing more or less the same exercises I was given when I was discharged from the hospital way back at the beginning of March! When I returned to see my consultant in mid-April. He was happy with the way the operation went and said that everything seemed fine and that I just needed to have more physio on my back to strengthen it.

The following day, I saw my physiotherapist at my local hospital and relayed what the consultant had said. Hoping to get some extra physio. But there weren’t any appointments available. And I’ve now got to wait until the middle of June! Really starting to get down about my back now. After initially feeling a lot better, I now seem to be going backwards and am in a lot of pain! I’m now taking anti-inflammatories and painkillers every day! More worryingly, my left leg keeps going completely numb at the drop of a hat and gets all tingly. I also have a lot of lower back pain!

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