Shad’s update on the Cystic Fibrosis walkers

These are the times that restore my faith in humanity and remind me that empathy and kindness are the cornerstones of a truly civilised society.  When someone is willing to endure hardship on behalf of another person it’s a reminder of the goodness that drives many people to do crazy things like walking 28 miles along a concrete promenade in the searing heat to raise money for a good cause.  The sun feels scorching as it reflects off the shimmering water that’s looks perfectly still, ideal conditions for the paddle-boarders and jet skiers enjoying their workouts on the tranquil water of the Sussex coastline.  There are no trees or hills to cast a cool shadow, just a few beach huts and Victorian shelters dotted along the esplanade.  A light sea breeze and a chilled bottle of water are the only things to provide relief from the heat on their glistening brows and red faces.

 

Scott, Dean and Kayleigh worked unbelievably hard to honour the commitment they had made to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and raise as much money as they could to support people who live with cystic fibrosis.  It was 24ºC on the sea front and even the most well-worn pair of trainers is going to rub like billio when you march 60,000 steps and you’re sweating buckets!  Talking of buckets, the whacky walkers carried their collecting buckets all the way along their planned route which started at Bognor Regis pier and took them along the A259.  The guys working on the improvements to the A259 deserve a special thank you for encouraging our intrepid trio and digging deep into their pockets.  The footpath along that road leads to a bridge that crosses the River Arun and took our team to a pretty part of the coastline characterised by shingle beaches and sandy dunes spotted with spiky tufts of Marram grass.  Sounds like an ideal napping spot for a cat who likes to roll around in sand and hide in long grass.

 

Lots of yachts and small boats were moored at Littlehampton Marina, bobbing up and down gently in the sheltered bay waiting for their owners to take them out to sea for a taste of freedom.  Our charity walkers mostly tasted the salty air and it was time for a rest and a top up of fluids.  The next landmark was a picturesque portion of coastline called Goring Gap which consists of hedgerows and dry grassland but has a hidden secret, a concealed World War II bunker tucked behind a dense patch of trees.  As our walkers continued their challenge, the dehydration and burning blisters began to take its toll.  Shoreham RNLI lifeboat station was a welcome sight as it marked a major milestone and meant they were only 7 miles from their final destination.  As the summer sun started to dip lower in the sky, the Shoreham Lighthouse became a symbol of inspiration to guide them on the final leg of their long journey.  And wearily but with determination, our plucky gang finally hit the finish line exhausted but happy.  They should be very proud of themselves and despite the aching limbs and bandaged feet, John says they are planning to do something similar next year for another charity.  Well done guys and thank you to everyone who supported them financially or emotionally for their trek along the entire promenade from Bognor to Brighton.

Shad Supports the Charity Walkers

Despite the numerous horrors being witnessed across the world these days, there are plenty of awesome humans on this planet willing to put themselves through aches, cramps and blisters in the name of a good cause.  John’s son in law Scott along with a bunch of fresh eager souls are organising a sponsored walk along the shoreline from Bognor Regis to Brighton on 3rd June to raise money in support of people with cystic fibrosis.  People born with this debilitating condition have a build-up of sticky mucous in their lungs and digestive system which can lead to a whole bunch of problems including difficulty breathing, malnutrition, chest infections, diabetes and osteoporosis.  Although there is no cure, a range of treatments such as medications, staying active and airway clearance techniques can help control symptoms and reduce complications.

Just Giving – Walk for Susan

 

Scott and the rest of the gang have been practising walking to raise their fitness levels and eating healthily (most of the time anyway) in readiness for the big day.  Here they are playing around with balloons, banners and buckets all donated by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.  The Trust supports those who live with cystic fibrosis, conducting research and campaigning to raise awareness and funds in order to improve outcomes for many people including some that are or have been close to several individuals in our gregarious group of fundraisers.  The walk is over 30 miles from pier to pier and there are plenty of cafes and benches along the way for the walkers to stop and refuel.  I would offer to accompany them but I don’t like getting sweaty so I’ll sponsor them a few quid and send them off with a smile!  I hope the weather stays good and everyone remembers their bottle of water and packet of plasters!

Just Giving – Walk for Susan

Shad does the International Bognor Bird Man

I never cease to be baffled and amazed by the curious antics of human beings and the ingenious ways they find to amuse themselves. I’ve watched them hurtle down an ice chute, pile on top of each other to take possession of a round thing and now this latest encounter – a crowd of people whooping and cheering as they watched other people in funny costumes leap into the air from Bognor Regis pier and fall into the choppy grey water below. John explained that this craziness was actually a competition held every summer at the seaside resort that is our home town where inventive individuals launch themselves of the end of the pier in an attempt to fly as far as they can in a human-powered custom-built flying machine. It has been a rich local tradition since 1971 and apparently is the oldest birdman rally in the world.

I watched proceedings with my head cocked and lip curled and it occurred to me that everyone there was an ordinary person who had put time and effort into creating an event that could push boundaries, entertain onlookers and strengthen community relationships. Some participants flopped unceremoniously into the sea with careless abandon, frilly knickers and yellow tropical bird suits flapping in the wind. Others achieved their goals to glide gracefully across the waves in their flying machines which was impressive considering some of these contraptions looked like a bicycle with an ironing board attached! The competition was divided into serious aviators such as this year’s winner of the Condor Class who reached 71.5m in a type of hang-glider and the inventors with home-designed machines competing in the Leonardo da Vinci Class. The most amusing participants were those in the Kingfisher Class with generally no flying ability whatsoever who demonstrated a quirky taste in fancy dress and a bucket-load of enthusiasm!

Shad does the Bognor Prom 10k Road Race

Almost two-thousand runners gathered together on Bognor Regis seafront to push their personal boundaries by running 10 kilometres in the beautiful Sussex sunshine.  John and I decided to show our support by joining them.  Not for the run of course.  I would if I could, but I have an old hip injury from the great ping-pong ball chase of 2011 when I ran too fast across the lounge and reached high velocity, resulting in a spectacular slide through the kitchen and crashing into the litter bag.  Since then I’ve left the running to the experts.  It has nothing whatsoever to do with my generous waist circumference or love of chicken nibbles!

More Photo’s here – Bognor Regis 10K

 

The road race has been staged every year since 1995 and attracts serious runners as well as individuals and families who want to have a good time, raise money for charity and fulfil personal achievements.  The runners jogged and sprinted from West Park in Aldwick to Butlins and back, passing the sun-bathers on the shingle slopes and the jet-skiers propelling their noisy engines into the waves.  I had to take my hat off to the this chap who looked to be well into his seventies dressed as a can of beer collecting money for the Rotary Club of Bognor Hotham who organised this event as part of their community service and fund-raising programme.  He puffed his way past, lifting each leg just an inch or two off the ground, pushing himself forward with an exhausted smile on his face, while some kind passer-by tapped him reassuringly on the shoulder.  Then he stopped to give me a stroke which felt a little sweaty but I appreciated the gesture and responded with a chirpy chirrup to cheer him on.

 Bognor Regis 10K

As some of the runners passed the finish line, John and I decided to enjoy an ice-cream along the esplanade and watch the band playing heartening music in the bandstand.  I took a lick of the creamy treat John had bought and contemplated those crazy days when I was a kitten chasing ping-pong balls around the house, leaping up the windows to catch a fly or climbing the bed-post to walk across the beams up by the ceiling.  I took risks back then that I wouldn’t take now, but I didn’t have the wisdom to choose the right ventures.  Now I have the understanding I need to know what’s worth pursuing but I don’t have the fearlessness to pursue them.  Funny how life goes!  But perhaps I don’t need fearlessness, just the energy and courage to fight for what I think is right.  Today it’ll be encouraging an old man to finish a race, tomorrow it’ll be rescuing a worm from drowning in the pond, the day after that, who knows what opportunities for kindness the universe will bring my way.

Bognor Regis 10K

Shad does the Bognor summer Carnival

A pirate on a jet-ski flying a skull and crossbones is not a sight you see every day.  But if like me you were on Bognor sea front this afternoon, you would have seen pirates of all ages, shapes and sizes wandering around as part of this fun community event.  The most impressive pirate had to be the Jack Sparrow look-a-like who pulled off a convincing camp gait Johnny Depp style – walking in a melodramatic and unbalanced fashion coupled with vigorous gesticulating of the hands!

 

Neighbourhood clubs and charities turned up to raise their profiles as well as a few pennies, such as the local RNLI who were out on the water demonstrating their unique life-saving skills.  There was a warm and wonderful family atmosphere, not to mention the heady aroma of fish and chips wafting across the promenade.  A few meows and a few morsels of fish later, I was a contented cat.

More Events here – http://www.bognor-tc.com/events.php

Check out Bognor Beach Live Here

Shad goes down memory lane

John loves his history and has many books around the house about history ranging from UK to Military and of course photography.

As John is a museum junkie, he loves to take me along to exhibitions and shows depicting recent as well as ancient technology.  I especially enjoyed seeing how revered the cat was during the ancient Egyptian period.

This past weekend we decided to stay local to home and visit two events.

70th D-Day Commemorations saw us at Bognor War in The Air….. several displays and airborne flypasts in remembrance of those 10,000 that fell on the first day of the landings and the men and women who supported not only in the air but also on the ground.

 

Tangmere Military Aviation Museum Vintage Car Show

Myself and John have visited Tangmere on a few occasions and love the Aircraft and displays they have on show about the history of the local airfield.

This Sunday they had one of their special days and vintage car and army vehicle owners turned up to show off their lovingly restored machines.

Shad talks about his home town

I was born and raised in Bognor Regis, a seaside town in the Arun district of West Sussex on the south coast of England.  I was lucky enough to meet John when I was kitten, as I was not looked after properly, under-fed and covered in fleas.  John took me home and cleaned me up and I’m now a rather portly, proud and playful 3 year old boy.  I’m sure you’ve noticed the noble whiskers and satin coat!  I can be a little grumpy from time to time but a headstrong and adventurous cat like me is entitled to the odd mood-swing!

One of my favourite activities is going for a walk along the promenade.  When the tide is low, the wet rippled sand is strewn with rock pools teaming with sea life such as crabs, winkles, algae, and those tiny little fish that live in the rocky shores of the British coastline.  When the tide is high, the water can be still and shimmering blue, or choppy and murky green.

Bognor Regis was originally just named Bognor, being a fishing town, and at one time a smuggling village until the 18th century, until it was developed into a fashionable seaside resort by Sir Richard Hotham.  He came to the area to partake of the ‘beneficial’ sea air and now has a public park named after him.  Tourism gradually took off in Bognor during the 19th century and King George V came to Bognor in 1929 to convalesce.  As a result, the King agreed to bestow the suffix ‘Regis’ (which means ‘of the king’) to the name.  It is located 55 miles south-west of London, 24 miles west of Brighton and 6 miles south-east of the city of Chichester.

Now I can’t talk about Bognor without mentioning the legendary International Bognor Birdman competition.  This is an annual competition for human-powered flying machines which involves crazy contestants launching themselves from the end of the pier, a prize being awarded to the one who glides the furthest distance.  Competitors wear outlandish dress and construct some impressive and improbable machines to take part in the event.  It started in Selsey in 1971 and transferred to Bognor in 1978 when it had outgrown its original location.  The Birdman Event of 2008 was transferred to Worthing following health and safety concerns about the pier.

The pier is 148 years old (almost as old as John!!) and took some 18 months to complete.  It has undergone several transformations over the years, with extensions and restorations, and the addition of a theatre, a cinema and a roof-garden restaurant.  It was used during the Second World War as an observation station and has since succumbed to damage and structural collapse over the years from fire and severe storms.  With increasing maintenance and repair costs, and continued weakening of the seaward end of this Grade II listed structure, the seaward end unfortunately remains derelict.  However, the pier is still popular with locals and tourists and forms part of the town’s character and charm.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my musings about my home town.  John and I have taken lots of photos in the local area over the years and I’ve shared a selection with you here today.  Oh and don’t worry about my little joke at John’s expense earlier.  He knows I think the world of him and have the greatest respect for him as my friend and provider and business partner (even if he is a grouchy old chap like me!!).

http://www.bognorregisbeach.co.uk/