Through My Eyes

Some people say I talk too much, that I always have a story to tell. I don't know what's round the corner so my blog is about life through my eyes and making every day count.

Amsterdam

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This started off as a short blog post and has perhaps turned into my longest blog post yet!!!
As far as traveling goes i am more of a sunshine and scenic sort of traveler, I love coastal views, scenic places, peace and tranquility! So I am still asking myself why I thought for my 30th Birthday and once chance at some holiday off work I chose Amsterdam! I think it is just one of those things I wanted to tick off my imaginary list of things I have experienced!

So the total trip for 2 people without spending money was £450. This was including ferry crossings and 2 nights I. A central hotel so not bad I thought. The ferry crossings were the overnight ferries with a room so 2 people, 4 nights plus crossings and transfers for £450 seemed ok.
On arrival in Amsterdam the first thing I thought was how busy it was! Everyone going at a really fast pace, if you stopped walking to look in a shop window for example then you got run over by other people or push bikes! Push bikes were absolutist everywhere and they don’t stop for you, you just have to move for them!!
The hotel was very central and 1 street away from the Red Light District so great location but very noisy and busy. The room was not exactly the normal standard I stay in and had a bit of a funny smell but was clean and tidy so no complaints!

Amsterdam itself on a whole is quite a strange yet endearing place and I really feel I need to share my experiences with anyone interested and looking to go! I will start with the good stuff! The bits I loved and enjoyed!
I am not normally into buildings but found the architecture quite fantastic. All the buildings were very tall and amazing looking and all minimum of 3 floors. I went in a shop called Forever 21 which was women’s wear and the shop was over 6 floors! I found myself taking a lot of pictures of all the buildings.
The other significant thing about Amsterdam is the canals and the canal network. Every street pretty much has a canal running through it. I really liked this and loved looking at all the boats going up and down. The Atmosphere in Amsterdam is quite something, it’s very busy and everyone Is happy (maybe something to do with the drugs being smoked!)
The other main thing I liked in Amsterdam was the food and restaurants! We love a decent meal and love eating out and my well built steel erector husband could live off steak if he had too! The streets are just lined with Argentinian Steak houses! Why Argentinian? I don’t know and have the answer, maybe Argentina produce the best steaks?! Either way you found one street could have 10 steak houses to choose from! We must have eaten in about 4 different steak houses over the few days and the steaks were good!!!

So now on to the bad stuff, in fact no not the bad stuff at all, none of it was bad, it was just different, more of a strange experience than an enjoyment!!

firstly my views and experience on the lenient drugs laws! A very strange going on but not something I am going to criticise! I don’t do drugs, never have, I don’t even smoke cigarettes so had no intention of smoking anything in amsterdam just because it’s legal! Its interesting to see though, in certain areas the streets just stink of it, you may not plan on smoking it but walk past a coffee shop and breath in at the wrong time and you don’t have a choice!! The one thing I do find really strange is my husband lit an ordinary cigarette in a bar as he occasionally smokes and got shouted at by the bar maid, “no no no” “no Tabbacco, only weed” So it’s legal to smoke drugs in bars but not cigarettes!!
As mentioned above I have no interest in doing drugs but when in Amsterdam it is so normal! It’s not seedy or wrong, it’s just the norm! That said I still wasn’t going to be smoking anything strange as I like to feel in control of my mind and don’t like getting really drunk never mind stoned……famous last words!
Not sure whose idea it was to eat space cake but when a nice slice of Chocolate cake is presented to you smelling delicious then a few bites won’t hurt!! Well an hour later I am sat in a bar feeling a bit hazy laughing at anything and everything! I didn’t feel like I had taken drugs but more just really happy! Literally giggling at everything like an idiot! I can understand why people do it because everyone likes to be happy but it won’t he something I will be repeating again anytime soon!!

The Red Light District – Again a very strange experience but one I would recommend to anyone visiting. Through the day the red light district is a few streets of bars and nice buildings and you wouldn’t even know it was the red light district! Then as the evening settles in the red lights start coming on and it’s a totally different place. If you just stand on the bridge looking down the streets it’s just a sea of red lights glowing but the crowds of people that visit this area is quite spectacular! We had a walk down and it’s just window after window of girls in underwear trying to coax you in!
And one thing I noticed is these girls are not ugly, some of them are stunning with fantastic figures and it saddened me that they are doing this every night for whatever reason.
I started to think about the reasons they do this and why? Maybe some see it as easy money and enjoy it, maybe to others it’s a way of life and that’s all they know, and then there’s the ones that look a little sad, you can see in their eyes they don’t want to be there so either they are forced or they feel they have no other option which is really sad.
We sat in a bar at the red light district and just people watched. It’s not great when you see the curtains closed and know what’s going on but Interesting to watch the men coming out after, and these guys are just ordinary men, not your stereotypical weirdo but men with wedding rings on, or young lads on stag weekends! I thought I would hate the red light district and find it seedy and dark and dirty but in actual fact it was very interesting and an absolute must do for anyone visiting Amsterdam.

The other thing to mention is value for money, the average drink is about 5 euros but in some bars located around the tourist areas it’s between 8 -12 Euros a drink!! the average meal in the steak houses is between 15 – 20 Euros, shopping is very expensive but there are some amazing shops so if you can afford it then a look round the shops is worth doing!
So that was it really, our weekend consisted of 2 ferry crossings, a lot of steak, my first space cake experience and a lot of walking round the red light district! I think we did everything in Amsterdam we could have done in the short space of time we were there but to be honest I’m not sure I would want to stay any longer than 2 days!

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Fundraising while getting fit!!

As mentioned in my previous posts I am attempting to get fit but it’s not a short-term goal but a long-term lifestyle change!
I started shortly after my operation, well actually about 3 months after but it literally took that long to recover and even now I’m not 100% but getting there! Seeming as they took a huge amount of muscle from my back I thought starting at boot camp would help build that back up! 6 months on and who would have thought I would be flipping tyres, pushing cars, running with a 15kg medicine ball etc! Some people think I’m obsessed but I’m Not at all, I just need to stick at it because once I stop it will be difficult to get back into it.
So in June which was 7 months on I completed the race for life muddy challenge and raised £800 for Cancer Research. It was so rewarding to cross that finish line not only as a personal achievement but also knowing I had done it for Cancer Research and that my money raised may contribute to saving lives!

Following on from the race for life I continued to go to boot camp and found that it was becoming a part of my life. I don’t have a huge amount of female friends seeming as generally girls do my head in but the boot camp girls are different, we all have different back grounds and stories but then come together to train and get fit and have a  laugh at the same time!!

I have found that due to my mastectomy there are certain exercises I struggle with, I still do them anyway but not as well as everyone else. exercises such as carrying weights above my head or anything that strains my shoulder as that then seems to pull on my back and hurt a bit but I take it steady and do what I can! We even took it in turns pushing our coaches car up the car park with him in it and I got the second fastest time which I was happy with!!!

So the next thing on my list of crazy things to do is the Spartan Run in Ripon in September. At first when this was mentioned I said no chance but somehow my coach and the girls persuaded me I can do it and I booked on! For anyone that does not know the Spartan run is a 5k run with 15 obstacles! When I say obstacles I don’t mean a few tyres to hop over, I mean crawling through mud under barbed wire, monkey bars across a lake, jumping over fire, carrying massive weights up a hill and a lot more pain!  For me those event is more about personal achievement,  A lot of the obstacles are things we do in boot camp anyway, carrying weights, flipping tyres, sprinting, climbing ropes etc so it will be a good test to see how far I have come since my operation 8/9 months ago.

I am going to run the Spartan race for the Benjamin Gautrey Foundation, A charity that was set up after my pal Ben was killed racing bikes at Cadwell a few years ago. Now I have mentioned this before in a previous post and gone into more detail but its a great charity that helps young people within Motorsports and other sports and helps them achieve their dreams. Too many kids and adults sit on the sofa and don’t have hobbies or ambitions so this charity aims to help those that do.

Benjamin Gautrey

 

The link to my Just Giving page is http://www.justgiving.com/laura-stephenson25 which shows more about what the Spartan is about and ways to sponsor me if you want to!!

I do question that if I complete the Spartan, which I plan to, what will be next, How far can I go pushing myself, I want to do amazing things and achieve amazing things, sounds cheesy I know but I have never had hobbies or a talent so to put my mind into something like fitness and to actually achieve results is a big deal to me!! Watch this space…….

 

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Diets – a huge money making con

Since my health issues I decided I am going to lose a bit of weight and live a healthier lifestyle. I wanted to do it in the best way possible so joined the local boot camp and started researching the best ways to lose weight and get fit!
Try putting in any of the key words in google, weight loss, diets etc and straight away you get billions of websites all saying different things!
I have spent hours researching weight loss, and the more I read the more I get annoyed with companies such as weight watchers and slimming world.
To me they are taking advantage of overweight people who are desperate to get thin!
Take weight watchers for example, they work on a points basis so you can only have a certain amount of points every day. They then have their own range of food showing the amount of points on, a clever marketing tool.
So the weight watcher dieters go shopping and buy all the weight watchers range of foods, funding this billion dollar industry!
While in the supermarket the other week I had a quick look at the weight watchers variety of foods available and was surprised at my findings. I found weight watchers cakes, biscuits, crisps, ready meals, sausages, bread, cookies and packed sandwiches all at a higher price than the non weight watchers normal foods.
How many people when getting these products look at the salt level, the additives or chemicals in the ingredients?
All these foods have been produced in a factory with god knows what chemicals and additives yet according to weight watchers are the way to lose weight?!
It’s not just weight watchers though, there are many diet company’s like this that you sign up for, follow their diet, get weighed and lose weight! So if the person is losing weight then what’s the problem I hear you asking?! Well it’s all good and well losing weight, but what happens when you get to your goal? Do you stop dieting and go back to normal, therefore putting the weight back on and starting the diet again, or do you carry on paying for the rest of your life which isn’t realistic and will never last?!

So my point is that diets are actually pointless and just a short term fix. These diet companies know people don’t diet forever and that is how they make their money!!

When you think about it the word diet is a really negative word. you automatically think of the word diet as cutting out the foods we love, no treats, no takeaways etc. And we all know that when we are told we can’t have something we want it even more!!

So how do we lose weight in a positive way and make the weight stay off? Forget the word diet for a start, forget the local clubs and schemes people pay into to get thin. Pick a day but not a day to start a diet but a day to change your life!
What works is a lifestyle change not a diet!
Healthy eating and regular exercise is all it takes and you don’t need to pay someone to tell you that!
When people say exercise it can be quite daunting but there’s so much you can do that fits in with every day life without being too scary! (I will do another post on exercise because I have loads to say on exercise!!) And as far as Food goes, it’s simple…. Anything that was on the earth before us! So meats, fish vegetables, fruit and try to avoid anything processed like crisps, ready meals, frozen foods like burgers and nuggets etc.
That’s not to say don’t have treats, my favourite food us Chinese and I love crisps but rather than eat them all the time I eat them as a treat in a weekend and seeming as I’m exercising it balances it out so it doesn’t cause me to put on loads of weight!
Often people think skipping meals will make you lose weight which is a complete myth! People need calories and energy to get through the day so skipping meals will just make you unwell and slow down your metabolism which won’t help with weight loss. By eating breakfast then regular meals it sets your metabolism going, gives you energy and burns more calories as the day goes on!!

So yes I may have written the longest blog post ever but it’s taken ten min to read it and hasn’t cost anyone anything! But the billion pound diet industry will go on for as long as people want to lose weight! What will it be next week? A new celeb fitness diet, the baby food diet, the no carb diet, the juice diet?
I’m not suddenly a nutritionist but i know enough to know they are all a load of rubbish and the only safe and effective way to lose weight long term is to have a lifestyle change, eat healthy age exercise!! Simples!!!

Boot Camp!

Fitness….. A multi million pound industry because everyone desires the perfect body, mainly encouraged by all the celebrity magazines that tell us how we should look and what new diet is the next big thing!
Don’t get me wrong I think it’s important to be healthy and obesity is a huge problem but the pressure on women to look good and be skinny is ridiculous when sometimes curves, boobs and bum is sexier than skin and bones!!
So at the moment I am a size 10/12 and not overweight at all but not as in shape as I would like to be. I have been going to the gym twice a week doing a bit of cardio but it’s starting to get boring so when I saw the gym was starting a boot camp I put my name down. It’s not about losing weight to me, I just want to tone up and get a bit stronger!
So we are 2 boot camps in and I’m in agony which is meant to be a good thing but I hope this gets easier.
I have to keep reminding myself it was only 4 months ago I had major surgery and muscle removed from my back, it may take me a bit longer to get as strong as everyone else!
It seems to be a good work out and is good fun, the activities range from boxing to weights to kettle bell and medicine ball.
It made me laugh last night when 4 new girls arrived wearing all the latest gym gear and full make up on, false lashes the lot! They spent the whole session staring through into the main gym at the men working out and by the end if the hour their make up didn’t look quite as good dripping down their face!!
So the night after boot camp I went and had a drink then today had a very unhealthy bacon and sausage sandwich! Not great for trying to lose weight but diets are over rated! My theory is as long as I keep exercising the odd bacon butty shouldn’t be an issue!!!

The era of social networking!

When people look back at different eras they remember different things, different trends, different Genres different ways of life. I think when I get old enough to look back on the noughties I will associate this era with the amazing thing that is social networking. Something that wasn’t around much 10 years ago and now has made its founders multi billionaires!
I am social network mad! For many reasons really but the main being I like being nosey at other people’s lives, ok not ashamed to admit I like seeing what people are up to!
Another plus point is I never wonder what the weather is doing as everytime we have anything going on with the weather I see it all over Facebook before I look out the window! And gone are the days of spending hours on the phone to sky tv to sort out the telephone line, nice you just tweet in with plenty of hashtags and sky tv reply straight away!
But despite being a social network addict i also get quite annoyed at some of the things I see on Facebook
And the things people share.
I think one of the most annoying things I see is this……

“Can’t believe that’s just happened, feeling gutted”
Or ” feeling devastated, am so shocked”
Or “just got the best news ever”

To me these sort of status’s are just about attention, people want to be asked what’s wrong, they want their status to keep popping up on everyone’s wall when everyone asks what’s wrong or what the news is!

I think a lot of status’s are for attention, I mean they must be, why else would you publicly tell the world about the massive row you just had with your husband and what an idiot he is?! I find social networking arguments quite ridiculous and a little funny to read!

Then I suppose the attention status’s are better than the really lame status’s like “sat at home watching tv” or “enjoying my lasagne for tea”
Does anyone really care?!

Another really annoying thing at the moment is this whole selfie thing. Some are really nice for example iv done a couple of selfies with my daughter and they are pictures I will treasure for ever, but the millions of pictures of girls pouting with a camera in their face is quite strange!

Then there’s the really skinny gorgeous girls posting photos of their skinny toned Washboard stomachs saying how well the diets going…. Makes me wonder if they just post that do people comment a load of compliments like aww you don’t need to diet, and your gorgeous type comments!
Oh and if your going to post details if your every move, when your away & not at home etc then don’t cry when you get burgled!

After reading all the above you would think I hate social networking but it’s not the case, it’s a genius thing a lot if people couldn’t live without trees days! It’s funny how times change & technology moves on.

Happy 10 years Facebook!

Fundraising for cancer research

Race for life 2014, – sponsor me!

I have only gone and signed up today, but not for just one event but for 2!
I always quite fancied having a go at the 10k race, a couple of years ago we did the 5k and even though we didn’t manage to run the whole thing and did walk some we finished in a respectable time and enjoyed it. So this left me thinking if we could push ourselves a bit more and do the 10k. After all nobody is going to sponsor us if it’s not a challenge!
So today I went on the website to sign up, only when I did I saw another even advertised, the 5k pretty muddy run! This looked interesting, a 5k assault course involving a lot of physical activity and a lot of mud!
It may only be 5k but looks twice as much work trying to tackle the obstacles and mud!
That was me sold and I signed up! The only problem was that the minimum age for this event is 13 years old! That means my 10 year old daughter couldn’t take part.
When I broke the news to her she was really upset which surprised me and to cut a long story short she ended up persuading me to sign up to another 5k event but not a pretty muddy one this time, just a run. So I’m still doing the 10k as initially planned but in 2 stages!

I have set up a just giving page which is http://www.justgiving.com/Stephenson25

I now need to start getting fit! A bit difficult when I can do any major exercise just yet and still get back pains and aches!
If it wasn’t for Cancer Research I may not have been diagnosed as early as I was and the cancer may have spread all over by the time they found it. Cancer research has enabled doctors to have the technology and expertise in place to diagnose earlier and earlier diagnoses have a much better outlook.

Hopefully lots of people will donate even if it’s just £1 and in the meantime I need to think about some exercise!!

Laura’s Just Giving Page

Summary of 2013

Happy New Year!

Looking at social networking sites it seems 2013 hasn’t been the best for a lot of people! Everybody has something to moan about on Facebook!
For me I will remember 2013 as the year I got breast cancer and had a huge operation which changed my life forever. Despite this i am not one for moaning, I just get on with it, there’s always worse off people and I have so much to be grateful for in my life so I’m not going to let silly illnesses get me down!
Cancer aside though what else do I think of when I think of 2013?
Autograss racing was big for me in 2013. A lot of people say they are going to do something and then don’t do it, well I like to try and make things happen and so a mini was bought, painted, covered in stickers and raced all year! Brilliant and the highlight of my year. I even raced (and won a trophy) 2 days after an operation! My surgeon would have gone mad if I told him but I’m not one to let a small thing like cancer stop me living my life! The funniest thing was that I was worried about hurting myself so stuffed bubble wrap down my race suit to add padding in case I crashed! It wasn’t the most comfortable racing but still managed to come away with a trophy and nobody knew I had been wrapped in bubble wrap!!

So what else in 2013….. Well we had an amazing holiday, it was just after another operation so was a much needed break and I loved every second, I even managed to swim in the sea and has a go at snorkelling which is something I have always been a bit scared to do!
I also got a promotion at work
Which was quite significant. I was a receptionist but have now been promoted to customer services and HR. Makes me feel a little smug which I know is silly but when I left my previous job my boss basically told me I was stupid and making a huge mistake leaving a good job for a temp receptionist role! Well it just shows that life is what you make it and if you work hard you can achieve anything.

So, 2014 what do I hope it brings? One of the big things is to try get used to the new me! Gone was the skinny confident girl who spent a fortune on compulsive online shopping and wouldn’t go on a night out without a camera for selfies!
Instead the new me is not so skinny due to being unable to exercise for long time and the new me avoids cameras at all costs! Not only that but the new me can’t buy random clothes online knowing they will look good because I need to try everything on now as nothing seems to look
Good!
That aside though I’m still the same person and I’m sure 2014 will bring more of the same fab things I fill my life with, more racing, more family time and maybe even a new house and a new car at some point!!
I Also plan to run the 10k race for life for cancer research. I can’t run yet as it’s too soon after surgery but hoping to start training soon as I need to get for for that!! I also want to plan an event to raise money for the Benjamin Gautrey foundation so have that to
Think about as well!

Whatever happens in 2014 good or bad I know that with my family by my side I can deal with it and I look forward to the challenges and fun times ahead!

All the best for 2014

The true meaning of Christmas

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While looking on Facebook today I saw some pictures of a friends child’s Christmas nativity… I say nativity but I don’t think you could call it that. For a start Jesus was a black baby, now I’m not racist at all and if Jesus had been coloured in the bible then great but he wasn’t so why change such an important factor of the play just to be politically correct or not offend anyone !
The second thing is that my friends daughter wasn’t an angel, or Mary, no this little girl was starring in the nativity play as…..Miley Cirus!!
It made me think about Christmas and that all these ridiculous PC people have completely lost sight of what Christmas is about.

When I grew up Christmas was amazing. We loved everything from decorating the tree to carol singing in our village. We would take a bucket and collect money for the church and go round houses singing carols! Nobody does that anymore, it’s probably not safe to but it’s a big shame. We would always have a party at my grans in the run up to Christmas. She had a large house with a massive hall so the tree was about 8ft high and she would invite the choir round to sing carols round the tree and have mulled wine and mince pies. It sounds so cheesy but was so Christmassy!
Then on Christmas Day all the family would go to my Granny’s and have lunch and then sit round the log fire playing games like pictionary, monopoly etc, sounds cheesy but when there’s about 15 family members of all ages sat round playing stupid games it’s good fun.
Those are the happiest memories I have of Christmas and strangely enough I don’t remember what presents I got or that being a main factor in my excitement. Of course I was excited for Santa and left out the carrots for the reindeers but it was never what made Christmas. I just remember everyone being really happy and I loved that!

So let’s zoom forward 20 years…. Christmas seems to start in September now which is ridiculous, Nativity plays are no longer nativity in case we offend all the immigrants and all Christmas is about is the latest toys the kids have to have! I am not a very religious person but I think it’s important to remember what Christmas is about and the story of Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
I went to my daughters carol service at church yesterday and loved it. They sang traditional carols to the point I felt so Christmassy and nearly started crying half way through Silent night which is my favourite carol! A bit embarrassing but I get over emotional!

We have to remember though Christmas isn’t a happy time for everyone and I find that really sad. I want to wave a magic wand and make Christmas perfect for everyone, I want to make people’s dreams come true so they can enjoy Christmas like I do. The thought of someone being sad and Lonely on Christmas Day breaks may heart.
For a lot of people Christmas just reminds them of loved ones they have lost and it can be quite a Lonley time.
Then there’s the financial hardship a lot of families suffer at this time of year. There is so much pressure to buy the latest toys for the kids or to be generous with presents. It’s a shame that it’s like that because I would rather a big family Christmas with very few presents than an extravagant expensive Christmas overshadowed by the worry of debt and hardship.

One year we went to Africa for Christmas, not very traditional but something a bit different. Because of the cost of this holiday we didn’t get many presents for each other that year but it didn’t matter as we were on holiday together appreciating life… On a beach!
One thing we did do in Africa was buy hundreds of pencils, colouring books, balloons and cheap toys and took them to an area of poverty and handed them to the kids. It was the most emotional amazing thing iv ever done! None of these kids had decent clothes, toys or anything, they lived off rice and beans and didn’t get presents. To see their little faces light up at a balloon or pack of pencils was amazing and to me summed up Christmas perfectly, giving to others and spreading happiness, cheesy yes but it’s what we did!

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Anyway this post has gone on far far too long so will wrap it up. I will say though that whatever Christmas means to you I hope it’s a happy time not a sad time and something to look forward to not dread.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New year

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Cadwell 2011, A day I will never ever forget

Warning…. This is going to be a long post!!
There is no real reason for me to blog about this day other than it’s what I am sat here thinking about right now! Blogging is different for everyone but for me I will be sat thinking about things and putting it down in a blog is the stop point from when I go from thinking about it to actually getting upset! It’s quite therapeutic!
Anyway so brace yourself this could be a long blog!
British Superbikes 2011, a year I will never forget for many reasons. I was with a team called Gearlink Kawasaki and their main rider Ben Wilson was leading the Supersport championship. This was a massive thing to be involved in for me and the reason I started brollying in the first place, to be part of a team, seeing what goes on behind the scenes and involved in all the action! It was like all my dreams had been answered being part of Gearlink, they had a top running rider so that meant being at the front of the grid seeing how much the championship meant to these guys. Not only that but the amazing team owners made me feel part of the family, included me in everything, treated me as a person not just a pretty face there to stand on the grid. It had to be my best year in racing.

One of the main highlights of this year was meeting an amazing person called Benjamin Gautrey, Ben raced for a team called MWR Kawasaki who at the time were also part of the Gearlink team so I got to do the grid for them as well. The first time I met Ben his smile made me melt, it was a wonderful smile and I thought aww this boy is so cute! I say Boy as he was only 18 at the time and such a little charmer, he loved all the grid girls and used to call me the angel of the north as I was northern!

Cadwell superbikes is my favourite circuit and one I look forward to every year. This year I brought my husband and daughter with me racing and even though I was still doing the grid I also wanted to spend time with them. Megan was only 7 at the time so loved having her picture taken with the riders, and Ben Gautrey was the only one she loved, she met a lot of famous riders that weekend yet for some reason kept asking when Ben was racing so she could cheer him on, he had that effect on people!
On race day I got asked to do the grid for Ben. I said no, a decision I have lived to regret ever since.
This was because the way the pits were you had to cross the track to get to the pit lane which meant stuck down in the pit lane for long periods of time. I was already doing the grid for the Supersport race so decided to spend more time with Justin and Megan and watch the race from the top of the hill with them.
What happened next I will never ever forget, second by second, from the point we saw the crash to the point we saw it was Ben and knew it was bad. I knew I had to be with the team and find out what was going on so as soon as I could I got across the track to the pit Lane to find our what was going on.
As time past I sat and waited patiently away from the medical centre and then after what felt like ages I saw my friend Gill walking away from the medical centre and I knew what had happened. I took myself into the toilet in the little building and cried my eyes out, I had to hide as there were lots of tv cameras and people outside that didn’t know the severity of the crash and I knew I had to keep it to myself and act calm.
The worst bit was that I had to go on the grid for the Supersport race knowing what I knew, only a handful of people knew at that point and I wasn’t meant to be one of them. I borrowed some sunglasses to hide my eyes and on I went. It was just typical on this occasion Eurosport decided to interview the rider and the camera was right in my face. I just kept thinking don’t cry for gods sake!
I got text messages after from loads of people saying they saw me on tv and I looked really miserable! Course they didn’t know why.
After the race it was announced that Benjamin Gautrey had lost his life in the crash, aged just 18 years old.

A lot of people stayed around upset, comforting each other but I just ran, I didn’t say good bye to anyone, I just got in the car and went home in silence, crying most of the journey to myself. It took me a long time before I could watch the race back on the tv and found it very upsetting. Not just because it was a reminder of that day but because while a lot of the live feed was going on the cameras constantly caught myself and my friend Karla in the background and we knew how we felt at that time and how worried we were. I watched it once and relived it once then deleted it. Whether deleting it was the right thing to do I don’t know but I just couldn’t have it sat on my sky plus box as a constant reminder of that awful day.
I only knew Ben a short amount of time but I can honestly say he has changed my life forever. Ben was an elite sportsman and was top at everything he did, he played football, cricket, swam, did gymnastics, cycling, bike racing and more. He taught me to never give up, that if you work hard you can achieve your dreams and the sky is the limit. He was a truly amazing person. Ben even had a huge effect on my daughter and she only met him once. From meeting Ben Megan isn’t interested in hanging out with her friends in town and what’s to spend every second of her spare time doing something productive from karting to running, horse riding, cheerleading and Allsorts! She says she wants to be like Ben and the best in everything she puts her mind to, I am very proud of how sporty she has become so thanks Ben.
Heaven truly has gained an angel.

Through knowing Ben I then met his family who are equally just as inspirational. They have set up a charity called the Benjamin Gautrey Foundation and have raised thousands of pounds to help young people like Ben achieve their dreams. They have paid for sports kits for local sports associations, helped young bike racers with their safety equipment needed to race and even set up a race academy to help young riders improve their skills on the track.
http://www.thebenjamingautreyfoundation.org.uk

Since this day I have also done a lot of fundraising for them, I have organised a couple of big charity band nights and even jumped out of a plane! I think I have raised about £5000 in total and plan to continue doing so. If something so positive can come out of something so awful then that’s got to be a good thing.

I know a lot of people don’t believe in angels and I don’t know what I believe but I truly think that Ben is looking down proud on everything his family have achieved in his name. I always say hello to him when I return to Cadwell where he lost his life doing something he loved and living the dream.

Benjamin Gautrey 1992 -2011 #25

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Is Gullible the same as stupid?

While watching Celebrity Juice with Joey Essex my husband and I were laughing at how little he knew about stuff in general, he didn’t know where Danish Bacon came from, What country borders Wales, the name of Jesus’s mother! Now while I was laughing thinking what an idiot I then began to think of all the things I have said that could be classed as thick, stupid, dumb etc etc.
Now I don’t see myself as thick or stupid, I work hard at everything I do and succeed yet I surprise myself every now and again with the comments I come out with. Some could be classed as stupid perhaps but a lot are due to me being a little bit (or a lot) gullible! People can tell me things and sound serious enough so I will believe them!
People say to me I could write a book with all my comments! So Here are a few, is it just stupidness? Gullibility? Just plain dumb or a bit of all the above?!

1) while visiting Anglesey race circuit right by the sea which contains 2 big wind turbines I say ” I’m sick of it being windy, I wish they would turn those stupid Fans off!”

2) “Do they have to close the motorway to change the bulbs in the cats eyes”

3) After seeing a flash range rover with Kahn written on the back I got very excited that Amir Kahn must own it & insisted my husband followed him to see where he was going! My husband obviously made me aware of my mistake!!

4) Walking round Osmotherley Reservoir I had my head facing the sky the whole time trying to spot the apparent Honey Bears my husband said lived in the trees!!

5) Blubberhouses Reservoir in Lancashire is named that due to all the whales in the reservoir…. Or so my husband told me!

6) Oh great it’s raining and it’s that annoying rain that gets you wet!!

7) while arguing with my husband – “stop picking at hairs” he told me the term is stop splitting hairs, still not sure what it means!!

8) We can’t put the new tumble dryer in the conservatory as it won’t have access to the water pipes!

9) What trains have Wheels? I thought they were like Scalelectrix cars on a runner thing, iv never seen a train with wheels!!

10) Are Charlie chaplain and Hitler the same person?

That’s just a few things on a long list of things iv either said or believed to be true! But I don’t see myself as thick, then again I suppose Joey Essex doesn’t either and he doesn’t know how many sides a square has!! I think it’s fair to say I wouldn’t be the ideal candidate for the pub quiz team! I find I am always the person who doesn’t get jokes, well not straight away but maybe a few hours later the penny drops and I suddenly get the joke and laugh out loud when it’s not actually funny anymore!! Or sometimes I just laugh even though I don’t get the joke!
I would like to think while I’m sat laughing at Joey Essex people are not doing the same thing every time I open my mouth without thinking first!!

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