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/

V E Day

Photo by Lina Kivaka on Pexels.com

 

V E day marks the end of the war on 8th May, 1945 when Winston Churchill announced the war was over. This day (Victory of Europe Day) celebrates Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender.


Due to the lockdown, any celebrations will behind closed doors. Dave and I decided to go for a walk around the village and take some photos…

Well I thought it would be behind closed doors but for the first time in 30 years of living here, the village is decked out with copious union flags and tables in the front garden, with accompanied covered up teas and we are in a lockdown. Ha, go figure.

I only know this because we went to see our local public house decorations. A great effort.

We then enjoyed a delicious BBQ of homemade sauce (recipe below), burgers, sausages and lamb chops with veggies (also on the BBQ) and sat outside having a few drinks.

The weather was glorious, which was a shame in a way but brilliant in another. Shame, because we could have all been out and about socialising and brilliant because at least we can still enjoy ourselves in the garden. Again.


Stay safe, stay well and have a jolly good weekend, if you can.
Cheers,
Andrea

 

Bbq sauce recipe

onion 

herbs, chillies

ground pepper

mustard

garlic

tomatoes

soya sauce

beer or red wine

chunks of fresh pepper

squirt of honey  🍯 

Enjoy!

More Lockdown Stuff… Views, Walks, Exercise and TV Favs

One of the biggest surprises I’ve learnt from this lockdown, is I like to keep busy. I’ve always thought of myself as someone who is a bit lazy but I’ve managed to keep productive (ish) during this period. Having said that, I’m seriously beginning to miss human contact. Just want to go to the pub with my mate. Not much to ask is it? I don’t know about you, but I’m beginning to wonder when this is going to end. Both Italy and Spain are coming out of lockdown in numbered phases. This is so that if Covid 19 rises they can drop back to the previous phase. (see video source below)

Walking and Musings
I’m also missing outings, so we drove to Ashdown Forest for a bracing walk. Flipping heck, it was windy. The weather has now changed in the UK to the usual selection of rain, grey cloud and wind. When the lockdown started it became sunny and has remained so until this week. Sometimes it has been chilly but overall, unlike the usual March/April weather. Wow! How English am I? Talking about the weather haha. Weirdly, I’m quite liking the grotty weather. The garden needs the water and I need normality.

Anyway, we enjoyed the walk. Ashdown Forest is a lovely ancient area of open heathland about 30 miles south of London Sussex, England. It rises to an elevation of 732 feet above sea level. As you can see from my photos, the expansive views are wonderful across the wooded hills, lonesome properties and rain-filled skyline. In fact, we arrived back to our car just before a downpour.

Walking is the one thing we are still able to do. Not great at staying at home but do agree that the UK lockdown needs to continue although not for too much longer as the country will be in a dreadful state, if it is not already. We try to remain positive although it is becoming increasingly difficult to remain so. Dreadful when you think of the suffering going on at present isn’t it?

Workouts
Another thing I’ve realised is that I must get out every day for some exercise. Recently, I’ve been unmotivated and started to eat rubbish. Don’t think this is the time to become unhealthy with all that is going on in the world. 

On the plus side, I’ve gone back to home workouts this week and done a Kelly Holmes HIIT workout which nearly kills me. Then some kettlebell exercises, weights and stretching. My mood has been low this week so hopefully, the endorphins will encourage more cheerfulness. Well, we live in hope.

Television and YouTube 
We enjoyed ‘After Life’ on Netflix although the swearing/bad language is a little too ripe. However, brilliant acting with much to appreciate about depression derived from grief and how it is challenging to exist and be a decent human being in a cruel world which feels inhospitable. I KNOW THE FEELING. I’ve liked Gervais’ method of oscillating between the poignant and ridiculous characters. The second series seems to display an even more profound performance of crippling depression juxtaposed with comedy and a protagonist finding little comfort with what life throws at him. Just what I need a bit of real-life misery with hilarity intermittently thrown in. 

Also, a little tip is Dr. John Campell’s Global Updates on YouTube re. the Corona virus without all the noise, is excellent…

https://www.youtube.com/user/Campbellteaching/videos?view=0&sort=dd&shelf_id=2

Can highly recommend as it is a direct and informative evaluation using accurate data driven analysis but with relevant and interesting commentary.  

Stay safe,
Cheerio,
Andrea x

Workouts, park woodland walking, chatting, clapping, a visit to The Lockdown Inn and thoughts…

As the days flow by, I do seem to be slightly less apprehensive and more resigned to the situation. For some reason, that I can’t fathom, I became calmer once the UK lockdown was announced. This is probably because everything has become rigid but more organised.


There is a queuing system at our local Tesco’s now, only allowing 40 people in the store at once. The online and click and collect is now more or less reserved for the vulnerable folks, which is fair enough and the mass hysterical panic buying has abated somewhat. At least loo rolls seem to be filtering back into some of the stores. Hooray for that!


Thursday –

The day was spent doing exercise! Thought I’d try The Body Coach’s workout at 9 am. It is meant for school children but what the hell. Anyway, it is really good and consists of arduous exercises (running, lunges, planks, box kick, Russian twists, squats, crunches, push-ups, etc). Then I tried a yoga video (Beginners Yoga with Adrian) which I am rubbish at but was sort of relaxing. Lots of breathing, downward dogs, twisting, warrior posing and more breathing. All of the above is on YouTube and can be transferred to your television by pressing the square Wi-Fi type sign, in the right-hand corner.


During the afternoon, I drove a couple of minutes to our local park for a walk. Don’t know about you, but I can’t stand being indoors all the time. The park is a beautiful space but, on this occasion, too busy for my liking. Kept dodging people by walking on the grass. Trying to keep more than 2 metres away from everyone! What a weird situation we are all in. Still lovely to get out and people watch. I didn’t have Oscar with me, so pondered whether park visitors may think I was strange, bonkers or stupid wandering about on my own. They didn’t. Everyone else seemed to be doing the same.


During the evening I cooked a salmon dish with mushrooms, peppers, onions, red wine, herbs, mustard seeds, fennel and a little cream cheese. We had boiled potatoes with the fish. After this, I had a video chat on WhatsApp with my daughter. It is lovely to catch up. Miss seeing family and friends but we will get through this. We temporarily ended the call to go outside and clap for the wonderful work the NHS, etc. are doing. This was an incredibly successful event. You could hear clapping, cheering and pot banging from miles around. Fantastic and quite emotional! At least it shows we care. Also, the Government has had over 600,000 applications for people wanting to assist the NHS as voluntary Responders, which includes picking and delivering prescriptions, phoning isolated folk and taking people for medical assistance, etc. Feeling proud of the UK at present. Shows how, as a nation, we can pull together.


Friday

Again, the sun was shining so David and I decided to venture out for a long walk in our local woods. We have a footpath walkers’ map and have become accustomed to using it again. We used to go for long walks with our children and they enjoyed marking the map to demonstrate where we had been. Anyway, the light on the trees was incredible and it was uplifting as we strolled about the orchards, fields and woodland. We really enjoyed it. One thing that has come from this experience is that I am discovering the outdoors again and small independent shops. Maybe, this will change how people live their lives.


When we arrived home, we had a sandwich and then got the deckchairs out and sat in the sun. It was a bit chilly (it is only March after all) but really enjoyed the warmth on my face and even got a little burnt. Before I knew it, my husband woke me up with a toasted, buttered hot cross bun and cup of tea which was devoured very quickly.


I had a phone chat with a friend who said, when I told her about feeling anxious, that it is about changing your mindset and getting into a routine. (She had been laid up for 6 weeks after an operation.) However, being laid up, is not the same at all. Everyone is scared and frightened. Although, the ‘jolly hockey sticks, stiff British upper lip’ attitude is probably correct. One of her friends said she felt she was on holiday in her own home. Must say this is a thought-provoking perspective on the worldwide situation.


I am trying to keep my worries under control by keeping busy and not watching/reading the news more than necessary. Must say, incidentally, how impressed I am with how the British government has dealt with this. It may not be perfect, but considering it is a new situation, they are, like everyone, doing their best to help and inform the British public.


Saturday – A visit to The Lockdown Inn

Now although I have endured and enjoyed plenty of exercise there is no denying, I like a drink or two. So, I spent much of the morning working out to a The Body Coach’s 30-minute HIIT session (exhausting), read in the afternoon and then had a boozy call with the young family folk. We chatted (via Zoom) about our week, where we’d been for exercise, beer, restaurant takeaway meals, and of course, the current situation. Really revelled in it all.


Thoughts

So, I’m constantly washing my hands, cleaning door handles and even food packaging. Who would have thought it? My husband is, when he sees me with a bucket and cleaning materials, actually saying sentences like ‘What are you cleaning now?’ I am trying to keep busy, sorting, decluttering, cleaning, listening to podcasts, music, walking, writing and reading, all of which I enjoy. I’ve even unpacked my case this week as we were supposed to be on a holiday.


Overall, the struggle to adapt is real but I’m pleased to come through another week without catching it.


Thanks for reading my rambling post. Speak soon. Take care and stay safe.  Andrea x

Walking Ideas (whilst we can)

I thought I’d better start with this topic because it is important. Especially at the moment. Disclaimer: I’m not a qualified health professional, so these are my ideas.

I’m focusing on coping mechanisms over the next few weeks which I hope will be helpful. Rather than wallowing in thoughts, as prone to do, it is better to be proactive.

A family member suggested I write again, so here goes. The best way to prepare is a plan so I’ve made a list of stuff (see yesterday’s list) but may also be inspired by some online education, virtual tours with an imposed virtual social life. This is going to be a tough period but we have to make the best of it.

As I’m trying not to struggle mentally, I feel it is vital to plan, in some gentle way, what you can do in the coming weeks. Even if you aren’t into the natural environment, now is the time to make changes to your routine and try ways of getting some fresh air and find your ideal space and interests. It’s easy to sit around and become bored so google some local green spaces or just check out some old maps you’ve probably got lying around. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been struggling too!!

As we can still go out, in some capacity, we should. Obviously, avoid busy places. Although, they don’t exist anymore. I’ve been going to the local park, woodland walks and wandering around the village.

The local park has a beautiful tranquil lake with plenty of space, away from others. It’s a few minutes’ drive so I usually take Oscar, a friend’s dog, as it has elegant wild grassy slopes, flowers, trees, fields, streams and is not too muddy. A great place to be mindful with magnificent views across the lake.

However, yesterday, I just went for a solitary walk through my local woods. This is great because it is a 5-minute walk from my home. Nothing like a woodland walk to calm your worries. I didn’t go with my friend’s dog so just walked along the top path near housing. It was quite special hearing the birds, seeing the blossom, walking through copious amounts of mud, taking photographs and not seeing anyone. It felt good for the soul and safe. I was going to go back along the road but realised the school would be finishing so turned around and ventured back the  way I had come. I tend to walk for about an hour, quite briskly to get the old heartbeat up. I take my phone, but only because I nearly got lost in our local woods a few years ago. Apart from emergencies, I tend to ignore it and I’d rather not have it on me.

Of course, not everyone has a park or woods near them. I would suggest a speedy walk along the pavements. Try to go when it is quiet (early morning/evening). I’ve had people walk round me into the road so as not to walk past me!

Walking can help mental health and overcome feelings of anxiety and creates a feeling of being with nature in a natural environment. It is useful to see what is around you and listen more and notice more than you normally do.

Most people have parks, woodland or green spaces near them which will have a positive effect. Go on, give it a go.

Tips:
Look on local maps and explore local green spaces
Walk for at least half an hour
Don’t look at your phone
Enjoy the peace and quiet
Submerge yourself in your surroundings – Be mindful, visually and be aware of the audible range

Walking – Why you should do both countryside and city walks…

So now I’m back from my travels and everything is back to normal, I’m realising a revival of two pastimes which I’ve always loved. Reading and long walks.

This year, the walks have become more prevalent and enjoyable. I’m fact, it was something I was looking forward to returning to, when gallivanting around the world. Walking with Oscar, through the cold, winter countryside. Yes, really. I do actually love where I live. Do you?

Also, amongst the wandering around my local area, I’ve gone walking with a walking group and a jaunt up to busy old London too!

The walking group went around East Malling and even though it was a cold day we were lucky enough to have some sunshine and it was quite glorious. Love walks like this because they are so invigorating and the English landscape is so flipping wonderful. It is good for the soul.

The London walk was from the book Walking London -Soho to Trafalgar Square. As much as I love walking around local farmland, orchards and woodlands, the London walks (or any interesting city) are gratifyingly fascinating too. Particularly, if you follow a written walk and it is a good way to investigate hidden city gems as well.

During the stroll, it became obvious Soho isn’t a red light district anymore but a cosmopolitan blend of cafes, fashionistas, theatre and quirky historical areas juxtaposed with modernity such as the BT tower.

On the corner of Scalia Street is Pollocks Toy Museum. Benjamin Pollock 1937, and is one of the last producers of toy theatre scenery. Strolling down the back streets, with pretty gardens, pubs and wine bars is great as you try aimlessly to imagine how unglamorous it would have been, just a century before.

Soho is now a busy place. The whole area has improved and it is great to see the busy emporiums amongst the historical architecture. We devoured coffee and cake and decided we must frequent Ronnie Scott’s club (below), before too long…

The main aspects of this jaunt included Berwick Street Market, Broadwick Street, birthplace of William Blake, Carnaby Street, China Town, the National Gallery and Trafalgar Square.

China town is colourful with the red lanterns and leads you into the always manic Leicester Square.

Must admit to really enjoying a long city walk and looking at all of the sights. A self guided walk is the best solution to independently experiencing the city and even if you live near it, there will always be surprises in store for you. Also, places change. Soho has made radical changes during recent times. Walking and exploring is free, environmentally friendly and good exercise. Can highly recommend doing both countryside and city walks.

Nash’s Arcade (above)

 

 

 

Walking and meeting people we know! Taupo Lake, New Zealand

Taupo

This place is the centre of NZ’s North Island and so beautiful. People aren’t exaggerating about the stunning scenery here, it is truly incredible.

On the advice of the nice lady at the motel where we are staying, we went for a walk to see the Huka Falls. This was even more lovely than expected. Again, the main surprise is the crystal blue water. The photos on this blog post are not photoshopped. This is the colour of the water as we strolled towards the cascading falls. One of the best walks, I’ve ever done, if not the best one. Also, the colour of the foliage is incredible. The light of the sun, gleaming onto the leaves gives a magnificent, surreal glow.

The falls themselves consist of 200,000 litres of water plunging nine metres off the rock face every second! This amount of water could fill an Olympic pool every minute. It is not advised to attempt white water rafting here because the falls have claimed the craft of many river users.

The clear, reflective racing water before the falls is just as breathtaking. Although it is fun to see the tumbling bubbles, hear the noise and enjoy the natural beauty of Nature at work. Apparently the flow is so strong it prevents the migration of trout and eels which isn’t surprising.

The volcanic caldera that forms Lake Taupo drains into Huka Falls and it is quite magical to walk this trail. It is also great to see all the young people chilling out by and in the water too. Certainly more fruitful than staring at screens all day!

The next day we took a drive around the lake towards Tongariro National Park and enjoyed the close up vision of Mount Ruapehu and Mount TongarIro and surrounding area.

The landscapes are incredible. The massive waters of Lake Taupo and momentous panorama peaks of Tongariro National Park, ancient forests, rivers, falls does make this road trip memorable. Unfortunately, we were feeling a little delicate…

The evening before, we decided to explore the local restaurants and bars. After a rather strange meal of bread coated steak, vegetables and chips we admired the momentous sun sets and went in one of the lake front bars. As I was enjoying a drink, I couldn’t understand why everyone wasn’t gawping at the sun set over the mountains (mentioned above). Suppose if you live in NZ, you are used to the impressive sights.

Anyway, we went to another bar and I thought I recognised the chap buying a drink. Told hubby thought I’d spotted his friend’s son. My husband started randomly shouting his name and he turned around. He confirmed his identity and invited us to join them. Crikey. We had a great evening discussing NZ, etc. What are the chances of walking into a bar and recognising your friend’s son from our home town, in England? Small world or what? We couldn’t believe it! Has this ever happened to you? Another great evening.

 

Enjoy the break everyone and a Happy New Year to you all. Thanks to all those who’ve supported my blog and I look forward to writing some more posts soon. 

Cheers,

Andy 🙂