Over the past week Pembrokeshire has enjoyed glorious sunshine - ideal walking weather for those who can. Sensing ‘cabin fever’ was about to hit the Victory Walk Team, we took the opportunity to catch a train (well 3 to be precise) bound for Devon.
There the sun shone brightly too, but at least it was an opportunity to attend some meetings and catch up with friends. With careful manoeuvring and not carrying any bags I survived the journey unscathed. It was only later back in Milford Haven that I suffered a blow to my right arm while in the supermarket – I gritted my teeth and headed to the bakery counter for ‘chocolate cake consolation’!
My enforced ‘rest’ and inability to move freely has given me time to reflect on why I’m doing the Victory Walk. I’m sure that I’m not alone when I admit to having probably taken my mobility and ease of movement for granted. Now, the usually simplest of tasks, such as pulling on a sock, needs careful thought: and it’s tiring because it takes so much longer to achieve. For me, I hope this testing period will eventually pass – but for others it has become a way of life and some seek charitable assistance.
Recently the WRNS BT charity, one of the two naval charities that will benefit from Victory Walk donations, helped a former 80-year-old Wren and Second Officer who still lives in her own fishing village cottage. Long widowed and suffering reduced mobility, she was having difficulties using her ancient bathroom in her home which required some refurbishment. Unable to obtain a government funded grant, it was the WRNS BT (and other naval charities) that covered the cottage renovation and bathroom upgrade costs. As she said in her note of thanks to WRNS BT - “Thank you for the very generous gift towards my new, ‘age-friendly’ bathroom; it’s lovely to walk into a roomy shower and at least be able to turn around as I get out”! This was a salutary reminder and incentive for me to get back on the coastal path as soon as possible.
Currently I’m forced into ‘marking time’, watching ‘Tanker TV’ on Milford’s waterway and taking occasional strolls down to the port. It was on one of these outings that I met ‘Bertie’. Created by local sculptor Gideon Petersen, ‘Bertie the Bass’ measures 14 feet in length and glistens in the sunshine. Constructed of numerous plastic bottles of all shapes, sizes and colours, he has been designed to highlight the gravity of plastic pollution in the sea.
As part of a wider UN initiative, the Port of Milford Haven is a key member of the Wales Clean Seas Partnership in which all members are striving to reduce plastic pollution. Having walked vast swathes of the UK coastline, I’m not surprised to learn that it’s estimated that the equivalent of a dustbin lorry full of plastic enters the world’s oceans every single minute. Nor am I surprised to read that up to one million sea birds die each year as a result of eating pieces of plastic; many fish, dolphins, seals and whales suffer the same fate too. I hope ‘Bertie’ manages to educate and help ‘turn the tide on plastic’.
Outside I can hear some seagulls who’ve not yet succumbed to plastic poisoning, probably because they survive on ice-creams snatched from unsuspecting tourists. Now there’s an idea – I’m off to mobilise my right arm by holding a cone!
More next week and hopefully better news from the Physio Team.
See Photo Album No 69 – Marking Time