Family Gatherings – BBQs, Weather, Social Distancing and Recipes…

Yesterday (Sunday) we enjoyed a family gathering.

Even I was impressed how the offspring strictly adhered to social distancing rules.

We usually have BBQs during the summer months and this was no exception. There are six of us and we all thankfully get on extremely well and often socialise and holiday together.

My son and partner both arrived on bicycles thus avoiding the problem of not having their own car because they live/work near a town and don’t really need one.

My daughter and husband arrived by car and couldn’t offer lifts because of social distancing.

We decided to have a table for sauces, mats and now obligatory hand sanitiser but eat with plates on our laps rather than sit too near each other around the table. The children organised a strict one-way walking system and I found myself inadvertently avoiding my hubby as I obsessively joined in the avoidance scheme haha. (I told you they were strict.)

We gave out drinks with a somewhat laughable stretching process and chatted away. The weather has now turned cloudy and a bit sunny in England. This is because we can now meet up. Last weekend it was hot and sunny. Typical but never mind.

I cooked roast potatoes and made a BBQ sauce. I’d also prepared a Sticky Toffee Apple Pudding which was extremely well received.

Tip… I have discovered a new way of creating a crunchy roast potato. You boil them for about 10 minutes, remove from boiling water, shake as normal so as to start the fluffiness and lay the potatoes out separately. Meanwhile, pop some oil into a baking tin with pepper, rosemary and garlic for a couple of minutes to become very hot. When the potatoes have cooled obtain a fork and scrap the spuds with the fork to create even more jagged edges. Then place them into the hot oil and cook on a hot heat in the oven. They come out really crunchy.

We enjoyed our food. Burgers were made by my son and other half. Beef, coriander, herbs and pepper. We had pork steaks pre-sauced, sausages, chicken and lamb kababs.

We also love to pop some vegetables on the BBQ to roast. Peppers, mushrooms and courgettes. Very tasty.

After a brief rest from the food, we then stuffed our faces with the Sticky Toffee Apple pudding with Cornish ice cream. This went down very well too.

Of course, after we’d had our meal it started to rain. Well, this is England. The youngsters refused to come into the house (apart from the obvious) and so we proceeded to grab and move umbrellas and furniture and sat in the rain. Oh, the joy of an English summer.

“We can’t moan about people not social distancing, if we don’t adhere to the rules ourselves.”

We carried on having cups of tea whilst looking up to the sky.. “Oh, the sun’s come out!”

During the afternoon we dragged the chimenea out, filled it with wood and paper from our butchered garden shrubs and old magazines. My hubby used two blow torches to get the fire going. All of this activity kept the men entertained for hours as they had to keep the chimenea fire going.

The afternoon stretchesd out with intermittent rain and sun into the evening when it became somewhat chilly. We then covered ourselves with blankets and carried on chatting and drinking until dusk.

What a fabulous day.

 

Delia Smith’s BBQ Sauce Recipe

5 tbsp dry white wine (or dry cider)
5 tbsp light soy sauce
1 heaped tsp ground ginger
1 heaped tsp mustard powder
1 heaped tsp tomato puree
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
Fresh thyme, to garnish

Pudding mentioned… Sticky Toffee Apple Pudding
https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/sticky-toffee-apple-pudding

Sunday Memories – Denmark – Fredericia, Odense, Copenhagen (and the hippy bit!)

Last year, David and l spent our summer holiday driving through Northern Europe. I’ve always wanted to visit the northern countries so we toured through Germany, Denmark, Sweden and back through the Netherlands.

At the time, I didn’t get around to blogging about the 2-week trip so thought I’d write about elements of the journey now starting with Denmark.

Fredericia

This was our first stop in Denmark. We arrived at our hotel and was shown to a minimalist room and although clean not particularly comfortable so ventured out almost immediately.

Upon taking advice from the friendly locals we decided to go for a long walk around a little of the Jutland Coast breathing in fresh air after our arduous drive on the autobahn. It was invigorating and I immediately fell in love with Denmark.

The ambience is relaxing and although it was raining I enjoyed the coastal walk. There are curious outdoor art installations (below) and it was great to leave the car and go for a brisk walk.

We strolled around an area called Kongens Bastion (The Kings Bastion) which the Swedes stormed during 1657 and was rebuilt between 1660 and 1675 and now stands as a good example of a 17th century fortress area.

As we explored the area and nosed around the little Danish town and residential architecture, the soft rain became harder and harder.

On the way back to the hotel we became somewhat discombobulated about the route due to the now torrential rain. Going around in circles up and down the Danish streets of similar housing we became drenched and unfortunately so did the map which we couldn’t read as it disintegrated!

We popped into the local brew house as a reprieve from the odious monotonous rain and was shocked to see people propping up the bar drinking and smoking! This is surprising bearing in mind how environmentally friendly the Danish are. We weren’t expecting a smoky atmosphere. That said, the place was dry, warm, friendly, lively and they had a decent selection of craft beer which is the main thing!

One lady chatted to us and seemed interested to learn about our long trip. We told her we were touring northern Europe and she seemed quite surprised and impressed. I guess not everyone wants to drive through Germany, Denmark, Sweden and back via the Netherlands but although long it is worthwhile.

Odense

I don’t usually bother to name the hotel we stayed in but this was glorious and called First Hotel Grand. The hotel is an elegant 19th century building and offers pure luxury with the town conveniently nearby. The reception couldn’t find our booking initially and to apologise gave us an upgrade. The bedroom was sumptuous and as I had developed a dreadful cold the luxury was welcomed.

Odense is the hometown of Hans Christian Andersen (fairy tales, plays, biographies, travel accounts, etc.). The little iconic house was supposedly where Hans was born in 1908 and is now a museum. As we wandered around the pretty cobbled streets, we saw plenty of statues and art which was inspired by the stories of Hans.

The city centre is reserved for pedestrians with an abundance of bars, restaurants, shops lining the streets. Of course, you can see a diverse selection of historical features such as the Cathedral (Domkirken), museums, local market area, park and quant typical Danish housing. We enjoyed our visit and to be quite honest, would like to return.

Copenhagen

A beautiful city where half the traffic is on two wheels. All ages use bikes here as in most other parts of Northern Europe. If you have young children you use a carriage bike. Incredible!

There is plenty to do and see in this city. We went to The National Gallery (Denmark’s largest art museum), Bakken Deer Park, Tivoli Gardens (a weird looking amusement park in the centre).

We took a bus (hop on, hop off) tour and stopped to view The Little Mermaid one of Copenhagen’s most iconic tourist attractions. The sculpture was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s famous fairy tale and unveiled on 23 August 1913 by Danish Brewer Carl Jacobsen.

We spent some time visiting the Botanical Garden which is located in the centre of Copenhagen. There is an extensive complex of glasshouses dating from 1874. The garden contains 13,000 species and is in several sections including 600 Danish plants, conifer area and rhododendron garden. Certainly, all of the above are well worth viewing.

We also enjoyed a boat trip (The Grand Tour from Nyhavn) navigating the city’s famous canals to learn about the Danish capital including Christianshavn, Copenhagen Opera House, The Little Mermaid Statue and Amalienborg Palace.

I loved hanging out at Copenhagen’s Nyhaven, or “New Harbor” which is steeped in heritage with colourful houses, bars and restaurants. Hans Christian Andersen lived here and it is a lovely place to take a stroll or sit with a beer and people watch.

Christiania – The hippy bit…

The most memorable visit though was to the hippy area of Christiania. During 1971, this place was an uninhibited military area and taken over by squatters and converted to a ‘free city’; a self-governing neighbourhood run by their own laws independent of the government.

As you wander around this curious community, you see the idiosyncratic buildings and restored shacks with chilled out residents who installed their own bars, shops, art galleries, meditation facilities and music venues and are openly smoking and selling marijuana from permanent stands.

However, they have ruled against cars, stealing and hard drugs.
Oh, and no photography as we found out.

Denmark
As you may have read on a previous post I read ‘The Year of Living Danishly’ by Helen Russell and I’m fascinated with how the Danish live their lives. It is incredible to see how many people use bikes in the city centre with special lanes catering specifically from bicycle traffic.

Copenhagen is said to be one of the most environmentally friendly cities in the world and has been praised for its green economy.

By 2025, 75% of trips will be made on foot, bike or public transport. Priorities include becoming carbon neutral, sustainable drainage systems, recycling rainwater, green roofs and waste management systems are just a few of their targets.

When you visit this city, it is extraordinary how they are implementing these environmental factors with historical and modern architecture (solar panels), attractive public grounds with engaging human interaction activity derived from careful planning and associated infrastructure.

A wonderful place to visit, I highly recommend Denmark and I hope to return soon.

Is this the end of Lockdown or the beginning of the end?

Monday

This evening I’ve finally managed to see my two grown up children! Hooray.

Of course, it isn’t the end of lockdown, is it? But at least we can finally enjoy seeing family. We met in the local park where my son lives and had a good old natter. Fantastic.

We discussed whether we should be ending lockdown which was a resounding YES? Also, should schools be back? Yes. Although, we all felt lockdown should have started earlier. The football matches and Cheltenham shouldn’t have happened just before lockdown either.

We also questioned whether we can trust the figures relating to deaths. Again any comparison is ambiguous as the UK now count care homes and I’ve heard people are recording Covid-19 on certificates whether it was the cause of death or not. In fact, data is now being questioned…

The Spanish government has stopped explicitly listing how many deaths have been reported in the last 24 hours, switching to a contentious measure of how many people have died in the past seven days. Nor is it updating the overall tally of deaths as frequently or completely as before.

Flawed data casts cloud over Spain’s lockdown strategy To come out and say there are zero deaths when deaths are taking place can create a lot of misunderstanding Rafael Bengoa, WHO director.. https://www.ft.com/content/77eb7a13-cd26-41dd-9642-616708b43673

Overall, I feel we’ve done ok. Ventilators and hospital beds were rapidly arranged and isn’t it extraordinary how quickly things can be organised when they need to be!

Also, if we can do stuff such as build hospitals, rapidly, why can’t we always do things quickly instead of politicians taking so long to make decisions? People of all political persuasions are saying it would be good if we could speed up medical needs instead of waiting years for decisions to be made.

Another topic discussed was eating locally sourced food. The youngsters all love to cook and bake. During the lockdown, they’ve started to go to the local fruit and veg shop which is basically their local farm shop, in town. They hope to continue this. My daughter said she’d cooked sweet potato curry and my son likes to cook a mushroom risotto. Recently, I cooked a bean tomato stew with roasted vegetables. So looks like we will continue to eat less meat.

Tuesday

Today we explored another area of Bewl Water. It saves trailing down to the coast and is only a few minutes in the car. Another day, another walk. My goodness me the scenery is stunning. Of course, the glorious sunshine helps.

During this outing, I noticed youngsters are not following social distancing rules although over 30 age groups are. Suppose you think you will live forever when you are young.

One thing about lockdown is rediscovering the local countryside. I’ve even downloaded an app called Alltrail because I intend to go on some hikes.

Wednesday

I met up with my friend for a local park walk. It was lovely to catch up. She has her own housekeeping business and work has dropped during lockdown. However, she is managing to have a few bits of work filtering through so hopefully things will pick up soon.

The economy is a worry and I’m hoping there won’t be too many jobs lost because of this virus. People are going through dreadful times whilst trying to home school children and worry about their livelihoods.

A family bbq has been arranged for this weekend. It was decided bringing own plates and cutlery is unnecessary due to hygienic rules I’ve adhered to.

The weather is deteriorating at the weekend so if Covid-19 doesn’t get us pneumonia will.

Toodle Pip

P.S. I’m persevering with the new Block Editor on WordPress. I’m getting there but it has been frustrating. How are you doing?

Sunday Memories – The Summerhouse, Books, Painting Furniture, Walking and Working (again)

It has been another quiet week although looks like we will be returning to some sort of normality soon as the UK lockdown is gradually lifting.

To be honest, I can’t wait. I’ve now developed habits around sanitising, not touching my face and constantly washing hands. I have stopped washing up my food shopping apart from a few bits such as milk.

I’ve also stopped reading and listening about Covid-19 news as I’m heartily bored with it. This may appear apathetic but I’m sick of all the media moaning (and by my Facebook feed whatever people’s politics are, I’m not the only one). The media seem to be like a stuck record.

Maintenance of Garden Bench

Anyway, I’ve done some furniture maintenance and painted the garden bench. Apparently, according to hubby, this is not upcycling but maintenance.

Whatever it is, it was hard work! I started by scrubbing the bench to clear the muck off and then after many hours, varnished to protect the wood which did rather smell.  This took most of the day and was left to dry for painting the next day.

During this time my daughter turned up and I provided a cup of tea and we sat and chatted in the sunshine. Lovely. I’ve missed seeing people. I was telling a neighbour, I feel as if I’m becoming too used to being on my own. It’s not good is it?

I’m looking forward to seeing both offspring (and partners) tomorrow in a local park near my son’s abode as we can now meet up from the 1st June.

The next day I painted the bench, left it to dry and then painted another coat. Used a whole pot of paint. I was surprised how exacting I found it. I’ve a new respect for people who do this for a living. Pleased with the result and it is great for my morning coffee break too.

Bewl Water

David and I decided we couldn’t face the crowds at the coastal areas (and lack of loos) so did another walk around Bewl Water. We parked in the same place but ventured through woodland around the opposite way around the reservoir. It is such a beautiful spot. People are now sailing, fishing or just going for a stroll. I’ve noticed an increase in family bike rides as well. Maybe this will encourage people to walk and cycle in the future.

We stopped and read our books (see below for which ones) so it was a pleasant, relaxing outing which I feel will be repeated often. Strange how it has taken a pandemic for people, including myself, to enjoy the countryside again. Although to be fair, the weather helps.

The Summer House and Books

I often spend the afternoons in my summerhouse devouring a good book. If there is one thing that has been worth the financial investment, it is the summerhouse. The space has become a place I can read, entertain friends and family, a storage area and somewhere different to go away from the house. Also, as our English weather can be rather precarious it is a great place to sit in and not feel chilly as you would normally. I can recommend one if you’ve some outside space.

The two books I’ve read recently are The Complete Short Stories, Volume Two by JG Ballard and Dead Gone by Luca Veste.

Ballard’s stories are an extraordinary, diverse selection of literary tales using his surreal, futuristic imagination. I’ve been reading this volume for what seems to be forever and it was a long haul. I gave it 3* out of 5 on Goodreads. See the size of it below!

Luca Veste’s is a fun phycological thriller and an easy read particularly in comparison with the above. All about someone taking students for experiments and then killing them! The interaction between characters is intriguing as the story unfolds. It is gruesome so be prepared. 4*

Business

Now things are returning to a ‘new normal’, I’ve slowly started working on my business again and sold a few things. I’m selling vintage/preloved clothes and jewellery online. This has kept me busy and I’m enjoying the work. Lots of photography and relisting old stock. Hopefully, the work will build up during the next few months and I can go out for more stock.

Thanks for reading. Stay safe.

Andrea 😊  

Baking Bread…

So why did I have to wait for a Pandemic to bake bread?

Honestly, it is the simplest thing to bake and so delicious. We always serve with pickles, tomatoes, meats and olives and makes a great lunch.

Pop the flour into a large bowl with yeast, 2 oz butter, water and salt and mix up into a lump then knead for at least ten minutes.

Recipe

1 lb 2oz granary bread flour

1 oz butter

salt

1 1/2 tsp yeast

9 fl oz warm water

Leave for 1 – 2 hours in a warm place covered with a clean damp tea towel

Bake for 30 minutes in an oven 230c (450F, Gas Mark 8)

I’ve got enough to make one more loaf and then will have to hunt down some granary flour. There is a shortage in the UK.

Enjoy your delicious homemade bread. Maybe we will all continue to bake after this is all over?

Sunday Memories – Shopping, Gardening, Favourite Podcasts, TV, Websites and a Publication…


The last week has been quiet with lots of activity around the home. Podcasts have been listened to, television dramas enjoyed, blog posts read along with trying to finish J G Ballard Short Stories paperback, food/gardening shop procured, baked bread, a much-needed glorious trip to Bewl Water for a wander and of course all the usual household chores.

Every day seems the same so you aren’t always sure what day it is. I haven’t seen anyone but had a friend phone call and Zoom session with adult children and other halves.

My routine has developed into chores in the morning which includes cleaning, business and writing. The afternoon often comprises of a local walk through woodland and reading in my summerhouse.

Shopping and a Covid-19 Test
This week I decided as my anxiety levels have decreased, I would brave a couple of shopping trips. One being food and the other garden related.

I’ve received a request to do a Covid-19 test, for research purposes which, although I’m sure I haven’t got it, agreed to participate in the hope it helps eradicate the disease.

So, I got up around 6.30am and realised after processing the swab and securely placing the swab in the container, I couldn’t open the bag. After much struggle, I had to drag hubby out of his slumber, to help. We eventually worked out there is a hidden slit in the side of the bag and managed to open it. What a struggle! The test was placed in my fridge ready for the booked courier to collect after 9 am.

By the time I arrived at our local Tesco’s I was feeling quite panicked. I scurried around with my extensive list, feeling frantic as I felt people behind were waiting to be where I am. Trust me, I’m a fast shopper but even I find the one-way system traumatic. Upon arriving at the till, I was told off for not standing on the blue spot (silly me) and this made me even more apprehensive.

However, I did thank the lady for all her hard work because I realise, she is in quite a challenging situation. When I returned home, I told hubby, he could go next week. Still, I got my face cream, moisturiser and hair spray. Yay.

To be honest, I was feeling more confident and was quite surprised how exacting I found the experience.


Gardening
That afternoon, I drove to our local garden centre. I picked up a few plants (petunias, pinks, geraniums) and went towards the house plant section. This area is also where you pay. I was making my way through, past the queue, and was curtly told ‘The queue is here.’ So, I weakly apologised and join the long socially distanced queue knowing full well I hadn’t finished my shopping. I felt exasperated but realised the tricky situation, paid for my goods and went home without the houseplants. Ha! First world problems and the joys of living in a socially distanced world. Our lives for the future!

Anyway, I’ve decided not to go too mad with the bedding plants this year as shopping needs to be minimal in this lockdown climate. Also, the garden is looking pretty at the moment with all the Rhododendrons out, and I am feeling very lucky to have space to enjoy, especially now.

A Podcast, A Subscribed Publication and Television
I particularly enjoyed the Minimalists’ podcasts on Politics this week. The Minimalists discussed the outrage and divisiveness of the current political climate and how we can avoid becoming caught up in the disarray and turmoil created by tribalism and partisan politics. I find their podcasts interesting and feel they are probably under subscribed because people assume they just talk about decluttering and tidying up.

We often sit down after dinner and watch a drama or documentary. During the last few weeks, we’ve enjoyed Devs, State of Happiness and Killing Eve. Devs has been my favourite though with the futuristic storyline, stunning cinematography and diverse soundtrack.

It is about a tech billionaire called Forest who is convinced that our lives are predetermined and questions our free will and responsibility for our actions. A fascinating watch and something different.

Another discovery is the website The Conversation, which is a network of news written by academics and researchers. It is fundamentally a giant newsroom with academics and researchers providing informed content that engages with current affairs.

I’ve recently treated myself to a subscription which is for the publication ‘The Week’. This is a publication which supplies a balanced news opinion about everything that matters globally.

I like to read political news from all perspectives and The Week briefs you well by documenting news from many political sources.


A trip out
We also went for a walk near and around Bewl Water. Although the area is local to me, unfortunately, I haven’t visited due to the fact I’m a bit mean about paying the £4 car parking.

Anyway, we parked in a nearby lane and wandered to the reservoir and discovered a quiet boating area, and walked around part of the reservoir and then sat and read our books and admired the view before going home. I’ll write more in another blog because the place is beautiful and deserves a write-up. In fact, I’d forgotten what a lovely place I’ve got so near to where I live.

Thanks for reading, following and supporting my blog. Much appreciated.

Mentioned:

https://www.bewlwater.co.uk/

The Minimalists Podcast

https://theconversation.com/devs-explaining-the-philosophy-at-the-centre-of-alex-garlands-mind-bending-tv-show-137507

https://theconversation.com/uk

https://www.theweek.co

Assumptions


To quote Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird,

“You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”


Over the years, it has come to my attention, assumptions are made about people. To be clear, I’m not writing so much about obnoxious popstars, selfish billionaires and politicians who are informing the nation to drink or take a highly toxic substance.

No, this is a general emphatic commentary written or said in a public domain, without thought or consideration.

A few days ago, I was surprised by a fierce reaction to an ironic online article relating to positive elements of the lockdown (which did end on a serious note about mental health).

The assumptions from the article (which obviously has been read in full by the commentator) are numerous but to sum up the article the writer (a journalist) has copious wine delivered, doesn’t work, is middle class and doesn’t think or care about others. Plus, we should remember about people who are working and or have lost their livelihoods…

All this may be true. It also may be untrue.
In fact, ask yourself whether you have drunk wine during lockdown? Do you have to be middle class to have alcohol or anything else like beer or food delivered to your front door? Might there be a reason you don’t want to saunter around Sainsbury’s during the present time?

Yes, of course, we are all aware people are working in difficult situations. Plenty of people have not only lost their livelihoods but lost their loved ones, which is far more important and horrendous.

How do you know his circumstances? Or mine? Or anybody?
He may have parents with dementia, a sister in a care home thanks to a momentary lapse of judgement by a drunk driver, isolated or ill family members and so on.

Oh, but is the comment really talking about the journalist?

Assumptions are a popular thing at present. Armchair posturing about all kinds of things. Fair enough, if they are being inconsiderate, giving fatal, false advice to millions of struggling people, and in a position of authority, etc.

The trouble is, is the commentary. Behind a screen. Bitching.

Does the person offensively complaining online write to the local MP? Turn up to community meetings? Partake in volunteering?
Are you taking responsibility at all?

How do you know the journalist doesn’t? Or me?

Are you just letting off more steam derived from bitter resentment because an interesting life is different from yours? Or you think the person voted for Brexit or this government?

I’ve seen a video (below), read posts, comments, friend chat about how there are elements of positivity about the lockdown. We have all slowed down and found time for lunch with husbands/wives/relatives/friends via zoom, cleaning/decorating homes, reading, gardening, etc.

Yes, people write frivolous things about fashion, music, politics, exotic holidays, decorating, cleaning, etc. during a pandemic.

This doesn’t mean their close friend hasn’t been unconscious on a ventilator in Intensive Care because of Covid-19 or they are not worried about the lovely person stuck in a care home through no fault of their own.

People need a release. They need to watch a box set, read a book, walk, run, eat crap too. Oh, and having the odd bottle of wine and a laugh helps. A sense of humour helps too. All good for one’s mental health. It doesn’t mean they’ve forgotten.

Very few people know about someone’s life and the older you become, wisdom shows, unless you are very close to a person, you probably don’t know what really goes on in a person’s life. A person’s perspective and reasons for their life we cannot control or envisage. The rest is just smiling and chitchat about beer, weather or a recent holiday.

Comments are preceded by a judgement which is from our perceived understanding of a state of affairs. Writing comments which are direct and endorse underlying messages based on assumptions appears negative, disapproving and narcissistic. This creates, distance, versus connection because you aren’t displaying empathy.

It also says more about the writer of ignorant opinions. They come across as condescending, superior and judgemental. Don’t get me wrong, we all form judgements and opinions but the method of expressing them is important. Do not make the complaint personal and public. If you feel the need to enlighten the nation with advice, knowledge, opinion or wisdom make sure it is procured with respect and personal integrity.

Assumptions become a habit and aren’t necessarily grounded in reality and distort opinion.

I’m happy to receive comments on my articles. Constructive criticism (which I’ve had), feedback on content but not insulting views with underlying messages based on ill-conceived opinions.

Make no mistake, people mainly write about frivolous stuff on Social/Media. Some share advice, some don’t. Don’t believe their content documents suffering, worry, stress and their whole life or the appalling things that are happening worldwide. We watch the BBC news for that!

My friend sums it up:
Everybody has their crap, it’s just different crap.

#WeRemember Video
https://www.prolificnorth.co.uk/features/2020/04/weremember-hopeful-video-thats-viral-sensation-coronavirus-crisis

Image

Becoming healthy and fitter?

At present, it looks like fatter. However, by the number of runners out and about it looks like there is hope.

During the last couple of weeks, people seem to have got to the stage where they have done a lot of their home projects and feel it is time to concentrate on fitness and getting back to some sort of ‘new normal’. Well this seems to be prevalent in my family and community.

We can go out but not out out.

So, maybe it is time to at least think about having a healthy body?
Even the folks working seem to be thinking along this line of thought. Are you?

 

Running

The NHS app from Couch to 5k has been downloaded on my phone and I shall attempt to run (again). This will be good for the respiratory system and general health.

The walk/run is ideal for returning and brand-new runners. For me, although I’m not an expert, the programme is a safe transition from walking to running. If you are a complete beginner, I would certainly take medical advice, do strengthening exercises and go slowly. The app is an NHS one, see link below.

Food

I’m going to start to avoid sweet food this week and snacking. Usually there aren’t many snacks in the house but some have crept in. Who isn’t feeling a little slob like at the moment? I know I am. This snacking malarkey makes you feel sluggish and unproductive and not great for the mood either.

Nothing like a workout to make you feel better.

This week I’ve started to do the Kelly Holmes 8.30 am fitness on Instagram. It is quite slow but very, taxing on the old body. But it needs to be done. Her book on Running Live is an excellent resource as well. Gives advice on mindset, fitness and nutrition.

None of this will be easy so will be taken slowly, hence the app and new workout inspiration.

However, all the media and armchair criticism is exasperating and so a few steps towards a healthy mind and body can only be helpful.

Clothes are becoming a little snug too.

On the plus side my blood pressure has gone back into the normal range (just). It was horrendously high at the beginning of lockdown. Everyone has found this time strange and stressful. Exercise does help.

Thanks for reading and I’ll let you know how I get on.

Aims:

Couch to 5k

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/couch-to-5k-week-by-week/?tabname=exercise-tips

Kelly Holmes workouts (stuff on YouTube too)

Healthier eating

Disclaimer: This blog is all about documenting life, opinions and tips. I’m not medically trained and I’m just documenting my experiences, reviews and opinions. 

 

Sunday Memories – Walking and Chat

 

Occasionally, we go for a drive in the car for our walk. Usually, only once every few weeks and I get excited about a little outing. It is amazing how thrilling a small outing is now which I suppose doesn’t do us any harm. Anyway, the outings below are rare and over the past few weeks

Barden Lake

Recently, we wandered around Barden Lake in Tonbridge. A glorious spot and an easy walk. There were a few people but the paths are wide for the 2 m rule so you feel quite safe. Who finds it weird how we walk in the road now to avoid other walkers? You walk along the pavement and wonder who is going to go on the road first. Must be confusing to children who are always told not to do this!

Anyway, it was great to see all the birds flying around. We saw mallards, geese, kingfishers and lots of dog walkers and families escaping the cabin fever. Is it me, are all the birds singing louder now? Probably me! I’ve heard people blame the lack of traffic but I’m sure they are louder and braver. A robin came up to me recently, and I thought I’m sure that wouldn’t have happened before.

Haysden Lake

We decided to walk around the above thirty-acre lake and soon found this challenging because the area is fairly wild in places and without paths. However, we enjoyed the ramble around the whole area.

About two-thirds of the lake area forms a nature reserve providing places for fishermen and yachting.

We started the walk by passing the Leigh Barrier which is used to prevent Tonbridge from being flooded. It is high up so provides excellent views of the surrounding area too.

Beachy Head

Now the UK lockdown restrictions have been eased this week, I’ve seen a couple of people and briefly visited the south coast.

The weather wasn’t great but dry. We drove to Beachy Head near Eastbourne. The cliff is the highest in England rising 162 metres (531ft) above sea level. You have a magnificent view of the east coast and is quite uplifting at this challenging time. (See top pic.)

Funnily enough, the name has nothing to do with a beach but is derived from the French words Beauchef (13th Century) and Beaucheif (14th Century) meaning “beautiful head(land)” which of course, it is.

Luckily, in 1929, Eastbourne bought the 4,000 acres of land for £100,000 and saved the area from development and is part of the South Downs National Park. David and I thoroughly enjoyed our wind blown walk and even the gales were invigorating. We did eat our sandwich in the car though. Certainly not picnic weather but it is great to enjoy an outing and glorious environment.

The cliffs are eroding every year so it is vitally important not to walk too close to the edge. The white cliffs are quite bright because of the erosion revealing the chalk.

The lighthouse is 43 metres high and electrified in 1920 and automated in 1983. The wild and natural environment is truly wonderful and worth a trip. We walked all around the headland from a nearby car park so we got our exercise in.

Source:

https://www.beachyhead.org/visiting-beachy-head/