Posted in Personal

Dear Kieran… [2]

Dear Kieran,

It’s now been 4 years (and a day) since you died. It’s crazy that you would now be 20 (and a half) as it still seems like yesterday that it happened, yet knowing at the same time that it isn’t.

Other people who knew you and were affected have most likely moved on. The 24th July no longer is the day that you died to them, it’s just another day. If they’re friends with me on Facebook, then it’s my birthday. I don’t mind getting messages saying ‘Happy Birthday’, after all, it is the day that I was born, even if I celebrate it a week later (and yes, on Harry Potter’s birthday). I think you’ll be smiling at that, if a little annoyed that I now get to share  my birthday with Harry Potter.

Yesterday, I just spent the day with mum at home. We went to Conkers on Sunday as initially I wasn’t supposed to be off work yesterday. Conkers was enjoyable. Although Mum and I natter as we walk around, we do remember the reason why we’re there. Conkers now has other memories – mine and Alex’s wedding reception was there, as it was a place that has so many childhood memories of us.

Since the weddings last year, life has calmed down a lot more. This past year, I’ve been doing my teacher training at the University of Birmingham, and for the last four weeks I’ve been working in the school that I shall start properly in September. Despite some difficult times during the training year and on placements, I feel like I’m now going to be in a really supportive department where I can thrive.

Last year, Dad and I did the 26-mile walk in honour of your memory. Whereas Mum and Aidan had chosen to raise money for The Children’s Society, we opted to fundraise for the RNLI. Although it wasn’t the RNLI that helped us that day on the beach, I have always wanted to raise money for them so that there is the possibility of saving more lives at sea. The walk was based around Monopoly, so we walked past all of the places that are on the Monopoly board. Euston RoadThat brought back memories of us all playing it as a family – the first time, you had all 4 railway stations and won! From then on, you wanted all of the stations because you believed it would make you win – however, Aidan and I exploited your naivety so that for King’s Cross Station, you would give us Mayfair, Oxford Street and £400!

Mum is currently undergoing her training to become a vicar. Your death has played a part in this journey, but in no way does it define any of us. Whilst it makes up a part of each of our lives, we do not simply cease to exist. God has worked in so many ways, to make good of the tragic event that took place, and I can see it in all of our lives. In a couple more years, Mum will be ordained and start her job as a curate in a church somewhere within the Diocese of Derby. It’s interesting and inspiring to witness her journey with God.

Alex and I also have a cat!! His name is Alistair and he is adorable. Sometimes Alex gets a little frustrated with him because he likes to scratch at the carpets but we both love him lots! alistair.JPG

In other news, the Harry Potter series is now 20 years old! It makes me feel really old as I’m only 3 years older than the whole series. Alongside that, on the 21st July it was 10 years ago that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released. I can remember that Mum had to buy three copies of the book so that we wouldn’t argue over who got to read it first. I’m glad that you loved the series just as much as I did, it meant that I could send you random texts whilst I was at university, reminding you that it was the whatever-year anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts or other important facts.

Peter Capaldi, who became Doctor Who just after you died, is now going to be leaving after the Christmas special. For the first time, there is going to be a female Doctor. I don’t quite know what to make of it – I understand the whole notion of gender equality but I suppose when 12 Doctors have already been male, you just sort of just presume that the next Doctor would be male as well.

There’s the possibility of us all going back to France next year on holiday. If we’re in an area that is reasonably close to Messanges, then I would like to go back to the beach again. It’ll be five years and, for me, I feel like it would be the right thing to do. We shall see though, as it will be a joint decision.

Everyday, we are all thinking of you. There are things that occur in daily life that I would love to tell you about, and then it’s remembering that you’re not here for me to phone, or send a text to.

Lots of love always,

Your BIG sister,

Tara xxx

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Posted in Personal

Another Year

Dear Kieran,

Once again it’s the 24th July. Another year has passed since you were taken away from us, and it’s another year in which life moves on.

Three years ago, it was just another normal day (apart from the fact that it was my birthday). I’d woken up early and was waiting for you to finally get up so that I could open my cards and presents. I’d even moaned at you because you didn’t wish me a happy birthday straight away (and when I’d picked you up on it, you just moaned back, saying that you’d just woke up). Mum and I spent the morning sunbathing by the pool whilst you went off to the youth club that was on the campsite. I’m so grateful that you did. You took part in a scavenger hunt type thing, and someone had taken photos so that we were able to have some of you in your last few hours alive. After lunch, we’d decided to go and have a lazy afternoon by the beach. I was in a grump as I’d wanted to sit right by the lifeguards so that I could look at the attractive ones (isn’t it ironic that a few minutes later, they would be helping us look for you and I didn’t care once what they looked like). I’d started reading my book and I could see you and Dad down in the waves. The next thing I know is that Dad has run up to Mum and I saying that that he couldn’t see you. The next few hours passed in a blur. We never gave up hoping, despite being practical minded. We know that if you had resurfaced after however long without oxygen that you’d have sustained permanent damage but we just prayed for a miracle. Our miracle was that you were recovered, that we weren’t just left without you, never knowing whether you’d died or not.

So much has happened since that day on the beach 3 years ago, and it’s often surreal to think that you’d be 19 years, 6 months (and 18 days) old. I was 19 years old when it all happened, and it’s hard to believe that you’d be the age I was when you died.

It’s hard to imagine what you’d be like now. I still imagine you as that quirky, kind 16 year old who wouldn’t have thought about moving away from home for uni. You wanted to do primary school teaching, and I can still visualise you doing that if you were here, but who knows? In three years, you could have changed your mind and decided that you wanted to teach English in Spain (although, I think this would have been highly unlikely. Your Spanish left a lot to be desired) or an engineer. You’d have probably quite liked Aidan’s job, and you might have considered doing that. I can imagine you working for a transport company, but I’m not sure whethere you’d have liked the busyness and chaos of central London.

I’ve been working as a teaching assistant in a primary school for the last year and I’ve really enjoyed it. I don’t think I have the patience to work as a teacher in primary education and I’m looking forward to starting my teacher training (in secondary education – geography!) in September. I’m going to the University of Birmingham and although I know it’s going to be hard work, I’m following my dream and I’m determined to try my hardest to accomplish everything I can. Admittedly, my stress levels are likely to go through the roof, but I know what I want to achieve. I feel sad though that you aren’t able to follow your dreams; that your chance, your opportunity, was taken away.

Alex, who you have never met (but I know that you two would have gotten along) is working for Mum and Dad’s company in IT but soon he’ll be transferring to a different part of the company and it’s closer to home (I’ll get on to that bit in a minute). We got married in March (on Easter Monday). You’d have liked the wedding favours. They were mini eggs and other chocolate eggs. I put one of the flowers from my bouquet in the Garden of Remembrance at church, and then Mum went back the next day with my whole bouquet. It felt strange that you weren’t there, and that someone who had been a huge part of my life for 16 years wasn’t at my wedding to the man I love. You should have been there, sitting with the family, laughing at the embarrassing things that Dad was saying. We had to live at home for a 3 months, but a month ago today (24th June) we finally moved into our new house. It has 3 toilets which I’m sure you’d have found amusing! Especially as there are only the two of us living there. It’d have been nice if you could have been able to visit the house. It’s near Wolverhampton and it’s a new build. It’s a lot of hard work at the moment, especially for Alex as he has to do all the manual labour (I wouldn’t even know how to put up a picture frame let alone put furniture together or sort the garden out) but it’s slowly getting sorted.

Aidan and Beth also got married this year in May. That was sad, knowing that you should have been up there at the side of him, being his ‘moral support’ for the day, but Aidan’s best man Brekan was lovely. You would be proud that your brother has a best friend who could take the role. You weren’t forgotten though, and I know that you’d have been watching both weddings take place.

Alex and I are going to Devon next week to visit Uncle Gary. My future sister-in-law, Nicole (she is marrying Alex’s brother) is also from Devon and she’s mentioned Quaywest Waterpark. Alex is looking forward to going, and I know you would want to go if you could. It’s an outdoor waterpark and has 8 different waterslides. It might not quite be like Aqualandia but I think waterparks abroad have an advantage in the weather. Thinking about water parks though, there is apparently going to be one built in Coventry. I heard it on the radio so it’ll be interesting to see if that is actually going to happen.

I’m still planning on scrapbooking all my holidays and exciting days out (within reason). If it’s a holiday and/or I’m travelling the world then I plan on putting photos into my scrapbook. If it’s a day out that you’d have enjoyed or I’m doing in memory of you, then I’ll scrapbook that too. But random days out that I have with Alex, for no purpose really apart from having a day out with Alex, they don’t seem like the days I should document.

I really want to travel all over still. I don’t think anything will really happen next year as Alex and I will probably still be finding our feet with what we can and can’t afford but I hope to be able to visit some places that I haven’t before. I know that there are places in Britain that I haven’t done, and those places are more accessible to us, but there are so many places in the world that I want to visit. And of course, I need to visit Florida so I can swim with dolphins (and visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter).

Oh, talking of scrapbooking and Harry Potter – Mum and I visited the Harry Potter Studio Tours again in May. We went because No. 4 Privet Drive was open and you could go inside. Apparently, if you were there at the right time, letters would shoot out and you could catch one to take home. We missed this. We went to the shop after, thinking that we would be able to buy a Hogwarts letter but the lady in the shop told me to ask Customer Services. The Customer Services lady was so nice, and she explained that they came out of a door on the set, but she gave me one. I GOT A HOGWARTS LETTER! (And okay, so it’s addressed to Mr. H. Potter but I think that Dumbledore and McGonagall must have got a little confused when writing to me. It’s also just an envelope but that really isn’t the point. I GOT MY HOGWARTS LETTER!) This time, were able to see the Hogwarts Express. Oh my life, it was so magical. You walk down a corridor, and then you turn the corner and it’s there. I just don’t know how to describe it. It was absolutely amazing and I wish you could have experienced it. It felt just like Harry Potter, and I almost felt like I was going to be boarding the train and going to Hogwarts. I miss our random chats about Harry Potter. There’s a new book out soon because J.K. Rowling wrote a play. It’s called Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and it’s set 19 years later (so I’m guessing some time after the epilogue of Deathly Hallows). I think that the book is going to be in play form, which I’ll find harder to read, but I definitely want to see how it all turns out. I don’t think that Harry runs off with Luna in it though.

In September, I’ll be doing the walk that Mum and Aidan did last year. I think Dad is doing it too. We’re walking 26.2 miles around London, and I’m doing it to raise money for the RNLI. I know that it wasn’t the RNLI who spent their time looking for you in France for 3 days, but it’s a way of giving something back to people who do a similar job, here in the UK. I’ll never forget what the French coastguards did for us, in terms of searching for you. Spending hours tirelessly going into the sea, sending search helicopters and looking further down the coast, despite the possibility that you could have been carried down to the Atlantic coast of Spain. I want to give something back to those that work, saving lives at sea, and by raising money for the RNLI,  I feel like I am doing just that.

There’s so much more that has happened, but a lot of things are just banal or mundane. They’re not things that you store up to write in a letter. You might tell people at the time, but otherwise they lack the excitement that make them of interest to other people at a later date. It’s annoying that I can’t just text you, out of the blue, to tell you some of these things (like I do with Alex or Mum) but I realise that you probably know it all anyway.

Despite so much hurt and grieving coming from losing you in Messanges 3 years ago, so much good has come from it too. I don’t know whether I’d have been able to turn my life around if I hadn’t realised that life is too short to waste it being unhappy or stuck in a rut. I think that is valid though for all of us. Mum, Dad, Aidan and me. We’re all doing things with our lives, and some of the things are probably things we wouldn’t have even considered 3 years ago. I also know, that although we will never ever forget you, you wouldn’t want us to be sitting here in a permanent state of grieving, never moving on. You are no longer suffering any of the things that life throws at us everyday, and you would be proud of all us. Your kind, loving, patient nature was a blessing to all those who ever met you, and it is an inspiration to me (and possibly others). You will always be my little brother, and everyday, I strive to be a better person, to be someone like you. Nobody I know ever had a bad word to say about you, and that is something that is so inspiring to me.

Lots of love,

Tara xx

 

 

 

 

Posted in Personal

A Mixture of Anniversaries

So, today is the 24th July. This day means different things to different people. To a lot of you, today is just another day. One more day to get through until you get to those days that are important to you. Today, however, means a lot to me. Not only is it my birthday (and my 21st), it’s also the 2 year anniversary of when my little brother died. Therefore, it seems fitting to write something in remembrance of him. (I’ll be celebrating my birthday next week, so in regards to that, today is just another day).

The photo, used as a header for this post, was taken whilst I was in France in June. It’s the beach in Messanges where Kieran died. Whilst we were in France (Mum, Dad, Alex, my older brother, his fiancee, my nan, and I) we went back to Messanges, to the place where it all happened. Whilst Mum, Dad and I were revisiting, it was the first time for the others and it helped them to understand where it was that it happened. To most people, it’s just a beach (and a rather lovely one at that), but to us, it means something different. It’s the place where my brother died, and although I miss him every day, I find peace in knowing that he died splashing around in the sea, doing something he loved.

Today, Mum and I both have days off work. We’re going to visit Conkers (yes, the same place where Alex and I will have our wedding reception) as it was somewhere that Mum took us all when we were children. We went there last year, and I feel like it’s the right place to go and remember Kieran. I’m also glad that we’ve chosen this place for our reception. Whilst we had looked elsewhere, they weren’t available, and it seems right to have our wedding reception at a place where I have memories of Kieran (and where my family does as well). We don’t really have any other plans for today, but we’ll see what happens.

This week also meant remembering Kieran in a different way. On Wednesday, William Allitt (my secondary school) hosted their awards ceremony. Last year, we donated an award in memory of Kieran which is known as the ‘Kieran Knight Award for Kindness and Compassion’. We get invited to go to the ceremony, so this year Mum and I went. We like seeing who gets the award. Whilst this year is the first year that I didn’t really know any students (the current year 11s joined after I had left), it was still really lovely seeing people get awards and it was a trip down memory lane. Although, the ceremonies are certainly shorter. I used to have to sit through 2 hours of awards and speeches whereas this was around 45 minutes! I don’t know the girl who won the Kindness and Compassion award, but a friend from church does – apparently she is really lovely and often helps out at Guides.

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One of the last photos Dad took of all three of us 🙂

So Kieran, you’re not forgotten, even during the busiest times of our lives when we have so much going on. You’re in our hearts every single second of every single day, and you’re greatly missed. Lots of love, from your ‘big’ sister xx

Posted in Personal

Graduation

IMG_8703 I am now, officially, Tara Knight BSc (Hons). Last Friday, I graduated in BSc Geography, and in a way, I think it’s finally hit me that I’m not going back to uni in September. (Who knows if I’ll go back to uni, but it might not be Aberystwyth!)

Although my ceremony was on the Friday afternoon, my parents and I travelled across to Aberystwyth on the Thursday morning so that I would be able to go to Alex’s graduation (Thursday afternoon).IMG_8418

Having arrived and eaten lunch, I had a little bit of time to see Alex before he went to his rehearsal, and before I went to get feedback on my dissertation. He gave me my ticket so that I had it, and I told him to put his mortar board back on.

It was really lovely to see Alex graduate, and I’m definitely glad I made it. There’s something about seeing your husband-to-be walk across the stage, and officially become an Aber alumni. The only other graduation ceremony I’ve seen was my mum’s, and I was about 8 so I can’t really remember that much.IMG_8440

In the evening, my parents, Alex’s parents, Alex and I all went out for a meal to celebrate our graduations (even if mine hadn’t happened yet!) It also gave me a chance to update his parents about wedding things as I know Alex is rubbish at telling them.IMG_8485

Friday morning, 5am. I woke up at the B&B where we were staying because another guest was getting ready to leave, and they weren’t doing so quietly. 5.40am. I woke up again, the guest was still being noisy. 6.30am. I gave up trying to go back to sleep and started to get ready.

Breakfast was at 7:15 as we wanted to leave the B&B by 8, so that we could be in Aber by half 8 (the earliest time that I could pick up my robes). Although I didn’t graduate until the afternoon, I felt like I had to get everything done in the morning so that I wasn’t left having to queue for things when I wanted to relax. By 9am, I’d picked up my robes, put them on and had all the professional photography done.IMG_8764

A lot of the day was then spent, aimlessly sitting around. The Department of Geography and Earth Sciences (DGES) hosted a reception at 10, that I went along to for half an hour, before leaving so that I could register.

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Taken by my Mum or Dad at the Geography Reception

I think I was a mixture of emotions all day. There was definitely some excitement and nerves, as well as nostalgia (and probably a whole load more that I just can’t identify).  I wanted to get it over and done with, yet at the same time I didn’t. Graduating means that my time at Aber has finished and that now, I have to go out into the big wide world and actually be an adult. A proper one. Especially as I’m going to be a Teaching Assistant and will actually be looking after children.

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Taken by my Dad

Even throughout the ceremony I was nervous, and just wanted to walk across the stage. Luckily, I was in the first half – I don’t think I’d have wanted to wait until after the musical interlude. As Alex was singing, as part of the Elizabethan Madrigal Singers, it meant that he was able to pop into the ceremony and watch me graduate without having to sit through the whole thing. As I went down to the stage from where I was sitting, I was able to see him just before I had to walk across. My main worry at this point was as to whether I’d be able to walk up the steps on to the stage without falling over in my heels and breaking my ankle. (I managed it – the only injuries I have are blisters from two different pairs of shoes). The Madrigal Singers even cheered for me as my name was called. I shook the Vice-Chancellor’s hand (and she said Congratulations, and added a comment about my fan club) and then it was done. I made it off the stage (safely) and could then sit down, and not worry about anything. I’d graduated.

steps
Not sure if this is a copy of the photo taken by Tempest photography

After the ceremony, the whole department had their photo on La Scala (this large concrete step structure thing), and then we could socialise with the lecturers etc. I also had to go and collect my certificate from the library and return my robes.IMG_8754

Graduation was over. After saying goodbye to Alex, my parents and I headed home and I could finally get into bed (which felt so nice for my poor, blistered feet). It had been a long two days, but definitely worth it. I feel like I’m at a loss now, because I know I’ve finished. Graduation was the last stage, and that’s been checked off now. I’d got settled at uni, and I knewexactly what to expect. I think knowing that I won’t be going back to that routine makes me somewwat apprehensive. However, I am looking forward to the future though, and what it’ll bring!IMG_8772

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Taken by my Mum

All photos used were taken by Alex’s dad, unless stated otherwise 🙂

Posted in Personal

30 Things Before I’m 30

I’d seen this as a guest post once on Cow Heart Girl, however, it was today that I thought about doing it as my friend Abbie is off to Florida to go to Walt Disney World and she’ll get to swim with dolphins. She mentioned that this was something that she could now tick off her bucket list, and I realised that I didn’t have a bucket list. Or any sort of list really. Just a mish-mash of things I’d like to do, floating around in my head, but never really thought about.

So, I know this isn’t a Top Ten Tuesday post, but I often find it hard to get the inspiration for those. So here are 30 things that I want to do/have achieved before I’m 30 (I’m 21 in July, so that gives me just over 9 years!)

  1. Get married (this is one that I know I can accomplish as I’m getting married next Easter!)
  2. Go to SeaWorld and swim with dolphins… or really, just swim with dolphins
  3. Be living in a nice house and have a family.
  4. See the Northern Lights
  5. Learn the piano (not to like, grade 8 standard, but so I’m at least able to use both hands simultaneously)
  6. Own a cat – I love Kitkat but I don’t think my parents will let me steal him away when I’m married. I don’t know where he’ll sleep though because my bed won’t be there when I leave home
  7. Have read the whole Bible (not in one sitting, but to know that I’ve actually read every book in it)
  8. Visit Australia and swim with Nemo (well, in the Great Barrier Reef)
  9. Learn Welsh and be able to speak it more fluently
  10. Visit the Titanic Museum in Belfast
  11. Go on a Safari in Kenya or South Africa
  12. Climb up Snowdon
  13. Have a job in which I’m happy
  14. Be part of a vibrant church family (wherever Alex and I end up)
  15. Go to New Zealand (to see the hobbits)
  16. To finish the sections of my scrapbook I’ve started, but also to keep scrapbooking holidays
  17. To take French lessons again to improve my French
  18. Become more active – maybe go swimming more frequently
  19. Have a Ford Fiesta (one of the new ones – I really like these cars – whilst most people might want a sports car, I’d just like a Ford Fiesta)
  20. Visit Cardiff – despite having lived in Wales for 3 years, and my fiancé being Welsh, I’ve never actually been!
  21. Learn how to cook (properly!)
  22. Go to Disneyland Paris
  23. Visit Rome, Pisa, Naples, Florence… maybe Venice again! (so I suppose travel around Italy)
  24. Learn something new that I have never attempted before (I don’t know what this will be yet)
  25. Visit all the zoos in Britain
  26. Travel first class somewhere (even if it’s only to like, Ireland and it’s with RyanAir)
  27. Be someone who is organised and able to stay on top of everything that is going on
  28. Have photo albums of my children growing up, instead of just everything being on the computer
  29. Have watched all the seasons of One Tree Hill, Gossip Girl, and Pretty Little Liars
  30. Host Christmas with both mine and Alex’s families there
Posted in Personal

H2Only

I’m not sure if I’ve ever blogged about what happened on the 24th July 2013. Not completely anyway. I’m sure people know some of the ins and outs of what happened, but this blog post will explain as to why I’m taking on the H2Only challenge, raising money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

The day started out like any other birthday (apart from the fact I was in France, but I have been abroad for my birthday before). I woke up early and then had to wait for my parents and brother to move before I could even contemplate opening my presents. When Kieran had finally appeared he didn’t even wish me a happy birthday until I prompted him to – his excuse was that he was too tired! So, I opened presents and Mum and I went to get ready to go to the pool. Kieran was going off to a youth club put on by Keycamp, and Dad was going to do whatever he does on holiday when Mum and I are sunbathing.

We met up for lunch and decided that we were all going to go to the beach that afternoon. I was in a bit of a strop because I wanetd to go and be near the lifeguards so I could look at them, but it was really crowded so we chose a spot about 500m away from them. We put down our towels, and Mum and I began to read our books whilst Dad and Kieran went down to the sea. Alongside reading, I was people watching. Kieran ran back up to get his goggles, and I could see him and Dad from where I was lying.

We couldn’t have been at the beach more than 15 minutes. Dad came running up saying that he couldn’t see Kieran. Mum just looked confused, asking ‘What do you mean?’ whereas I just planned on running into the sea to look for him. (That didn’t happen – I got to the water’s edge and didn’t like the look of the big waves). I told Mum to phone the emergency services, but when she made it down the beach a few minutes later, she told me that she didn’t know the number (for anyone going abroad, to France anyway, the number is 112). I dialled it and then spoke to a French woman who was there, asking her to speak to them as I realised I wouldn’t know enough French. She spoke to me afterwards and told me that there was a helicopter on its way.

During this time, Dad had run over to the lifeguard and he arrived back with them. It’s ironic in a messed-up way that I was able to watch the lifeguards from where we were. (I’d much rather have my brother back, and not have to had watch them). Mum just stood in shock, so the lifeguards spoke to me, asking me questions about what Kieran looked like, what swim shorts he was wearing. There were several people who had been in the same area as us, with wetsuits on – I think they’d been surfing – who were looking and watching, trying to see if they could spot Kieran somewhere out in the waves. The lifeguards started their search, going out with surfboards in the hope of finding him.

Time passed, but we had no real idea of how long. Dad went back to the campsite to get changed, in case he had to go somewhere with the Search and Rescue people, and informed Keycamp of what had happened. Mum, despite being in shock, still was aware of the medical aspect – if they did find Kieran alive after all the time that had passed, he’d have been severely brain-damaged. But it was unlikely that he’d still be alive. I was telling her otherwise, but deep down I knew that he wouldn’t have survived.

We’d got to the beach about 3pm and it was half 6 when we were taken to the coastguard/lifeguard hut on the beach, where Dad gave his statement. I remember everyone staring at us as we were driven there on the back of one of the lifeguard’s trucks, and it was sickening. After the initial helicopter search, people had lost interest and gone back to their own thing (which is fine by me), and then as we drove past they stop and stare. I always try to not look and think ‘how exciting’ when helicopters are involved as I know how it feels. But I do understand how other people would react – Kieran would have loved the drama and helicopters (especially as it was all for him!)

Dad had to give a statement to the chief lifeguard man, which had to be translated into French. The main problem was trying to explain what Kieran had been doing. I suppose he was ‘swimming’, yet he wasn’t. He was just splashing about, with Dad, and the water was no higher than my Dad’s chest (which would have been lower for Kieran). His feet didn’t leave the floor.

They stopped the helicopter search at 7pm as they needed to refuel but they kept up the search the next couple of days until he was found on the 27th. He’d been washed ashore during a storm, and a fisherman found him.

There are lots of other aspects to this story – everything my Aunt and Uncle did (they flew out to France), everything that the Keycamp people did, as well as all the waiting that happened. But those parts aren’t important as to why I’m wanting to raise money for the RNLI.

Yes, Kieran drowned but the lifeguards and coastguards in France did so much for us. They searched and searched up and down the coast to try and find him. The RNLI do the same, saving lives, in the UK. I want to raise money because what they do is so important, and they can stop other families being broken up by the tragedies that happen at sea.

So, for 10 days (2-12 June) I’m going to drink only water. Sponsor me as I do the H2Only challenge, in memory of my brother, to raise money for the RNLI and to help save lives in the UK.

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

Posted in Personal

Dyfi Osprey Project

Wednesday morning, I had a fieldtrip for my Dynamic Biogeography module to the Dyfi Osprey Project. I wasn’t sure really sure what to expect from it, especially as I had an assignment to complete still, but I found it really interesting and it was nice to get out of Aber! As much as I love Aber, unless you have a car, it’s often quite hard to leave on day trips!

Once we’d arrived we had a brief introduction and then we headed towards the observatory. Whilst the osprey nest is not actually in this nature reserve, but on the other side of the railway, they have telescopes set up so that you can look at them. Monty and Glesni, the breeding pair, currently have 3 eggs that will hatch towards the end of May.

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I love this picture, purely because it looks like a planet from a distance. But, this was taken down the telescope. On the perch you can see Glesni, the female osprey.

On the way to the observatory, the lady Kim told us about some of the other things that they did. During the summer months they have two water buffalo that graze on some of the land near to the car park! Unfortunately, they weren’t there when I went, but they’d have certainly been interesting to see!

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This picture was purely for my entertainment. ‘Gog’ is a term used to describe people from North Wales, and as that is where my fiance is from, I feel like I can call him a cuckoo now!

Kim also told us a bit about the migratory patterns of ospreys. Over the winter they spend their time in the Senegal area of Africa where they can find plenty of fish and water. The project used to track the ospreys, however, it’s really expensive. The tracker alone can cost around £1000! Some of the maps showing the routes that the ospreys took were interesting though. Although Monty, Glesni and their chicks leave Wales over the winter, they don’t leave together and they all take slightly different routes.

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I didn’t realise how big ospreys were until I saw this. I think the wing span is around 180cm! That’s taller than me!

I’d recommend a visit, especially if you’re interested in wildlife. I initially didn’t think it was going to be anything much, but it gave me an insight into a bird that is endangered. In the UK, there are only around 250 breeding pairs!