Before this blog dissipates completely, I thought I’d better write a post. This week I am holidaying in Falmouth, Cornwall and have been very busy.
On Sunday, I visited the magnificent Pendennis Castle, one of Henry VIII’s coastal forts. Really enjoyed wandering around the castle and surrounding area. The castle itself transports you back to 16th century invasions and the tensions of World War 2 defences. The grounds are equally impressive with beautiful coastline views and various exhibitions of canons and artillery.
On Monday, I drove to the Eden Project which has certainly grown up since I last visited it with rather unimpressed children 👶. Nestled in a crater are Biomes housing a rainforest, Mediterranean gardens, art installations and other events such as an over loud story teller for the bored children. Entrance fees, which are extortionate, support environmental projects. You can also enjoy or endure a zip wire which is England’s longest and fastest zip wire experience if you wish too. I was quite keen, but put off when I saw some chap get stuck half way. He just stopped. The zip wire chaps left him dangling embarrassingly for several minutes before they arrived and dragged him back with rope and poles. No to that zip wire fun then!
On Tuesday, I drove to St Ives for a day of wandering around galleries, craft shops and stuffing myself with ice cream with clotted cream on top. Some contemporary art, which I love, is very inspirational and ingenious but some pieces are ridiculous and vastly overpriced. However, this is part of the experience to formulate an overinflated opinion and be judgemental whilst looking for that piece of art you just have to have. The beach views, as a backdrop to the aimless wandering, are quite glorious too.
Today, I went on a 6 mile walk around Falmouth through farmland and ending up walking along the coast. Beautiful Cornish views helped keep up my energy as did the humongous crab sandwich and just when I thought I was full, I stuffed myself stupid with another clotted cream ice cream 🍦in the wonderful beach cafe.
So that is how the week has gone so far. Of course I have frequented a few pubs too. Beerwolf Books is my idea of heaven. A pub with a book shop. Browse the books and have a pint. Pennycomequick is a great place too for both food and drink. The staff are ‘millennials’ and extremely helpful, cheerful, efficient and enthusiastic. Having encountered many experienced but curmudgeonly landlords during my time, can’t help thinking this is the approach to stop so many pubs closing. Be pleasant and sell a good variety of what people want in a clean and inviting ambience.
The pubs, cafes and restaurants in Falmouth are splendid and everyone seems friendly too which helps the beer go down.
Ok, I’ve walked a long way so just out for a quick drink. Thanks for reading.
Recently, I’ve returned from a trip to Scotland and Northumberland. What surprised me about the North of England and Scotland is just how much empty space there is. Fields upon fields of land and yet everybody seems obsessed with building copious schemes in the south of England. Ridiculous. Ok, I knew this just by looking on the map, but was still shocked how quiet and empty the area is in real life.
Having made this controversial statement, I must admit to being grateful that I live in the south without the interminable grey, cold weather. However, many people enjoy the wilderness of this area and it is great if you want to ingratiate yourself in a calm, quiet region, away from it all. Of course, there is a lot to see and do in Scotland too…
This post concentrates on the main places I visited but I enjoyed many walks, road trips and curious cafes too that are not all mentioned here. One of these was walking to see the Falls of Foyers which was quite exquisite. Burns and Wordsworth wrote fondly about the falls and beautiful scenery. I suspect the walk was more precarious in their time. People were friendly and welcoming during my tour of Scotland and it was an excellent trip. The start of a long list of places to visit, across the world!
ps://mishmashmediablog.files.wordpress.com/2018/08/dsc_0022.jpg”> Foyers Waterfall and walk
Firstly, I visited Edinburgh and enjoyed the bustle of the city with a great array of pubs, eateries and atmosphere. I stayed in a Bed and Breakfast near the city which wasn’t extortionately expensive, although the room was circa 1970s and the hardest bed I’ve ever attempted to sleep in. On the plus side, the breakfast was delicious and after a twenty minute stroll, I was in the centre of Edinburgh.
One of the first things I did, was go on the open top bus, hop on and off facility. You have a great view of the city and go at the pace you want hopping off, as necessary. Many historical places are on the tour and as you listen to the tour guide, you obtain snippets of local information, that you may not hear otherwise. Palace of Holyroodhouse is an impressive building and founded as a monastery in the 12th century which is now used for state and official entertaining. The Royal Mile is famous because it goes up towards the Edinburgh Castle. This castle has seen many sieges and battles with royalty having died within the walls. The guide also points out famous pubs and restaurants which are worth visiting. I can recommend the Dome which is a magnificent, grand building with a beautiful glass domed ceiling, pillared arches and has a great selection of food, including afternoon teas and cocktails. A real treat.
One of the humorous tales, as told by a lively and loud tour guide, is often it took so long to travel from Edinburgh to London, with the poor people precariously perched on top of the horse and carriage, that the proprietors of the coaching company insisted you had to have a valid Will before travelling! This is where the “Where there’s a will, there’s a way…” famous quote comes from. I’d wrongly assumed the “will” meant tenacity or similar.
log.files.wordpress.com/2018/08/20180607_131701.jpg”> The Dome….
After Edinburgh, I drove north to Perth and then Inverness. This is known to be the cultural capital of the Scottish highlands and has an impressive castle overlooking the the River Ness. The red sandstone castle was built in 1836 by architect William Burn and on the site of an 11th-century defensive structure. This is a lively and interesting town and of course, a great base for sightseeing the local area and the infamous Loch Ness.
I drove around the Loch Ness and took the boat trip on the loch itself. The views are heavenly and this was my favourite landscape in Scotland. Exploring the area is fun and the scenery is spectacular.
Plenty of places to eat and drink, although I find the pubs up north rather male orientated but a special mention must go to the fabulous Black Isle Bar which sells a great selection of craft beers, ales and yummy pizzas. I’m not a fan of pizza, but even I enjoyed it.
After this I decided it would be a clever idea to reach John O’Groats because, well, I’d got this far. All the driving during this adventure was exhausting but it is great to reach to top of the UK. Something you look at on the map and never expect to reach there. It is great to say you’ve been!
However, contrary to popular belief, it is not the UK’s most northern point, Dunnet Head is, and this is much more inspiring. The rugged peninsula in Caithness has a wild landscape with spectacular vistas, coastal grasslands and a long list of birds including puffins, razorbills, guillemots and kittiwakes. Now, this is worth a visit.
8/08/dsc_0074.jpg”> Dunnet Head
Next back towards the Ben Nevis area, Fort William. Unfortunately, I didn’t really realise how far it was and managed to find a place to stay in Fort Augustus for the night. This was a last minute find. I drove up a drive expecting a room and over chatty landlady, and was shown a large caravan with instructions to drop the key in the letter box by 10am the next day. Brilliant. I was exhausted and could chill out in the caravan. What luck! I don’t mind being sociable but not after driving forever and a day haha.
Fort William is a pleasant town, but the heavens opened for the three days I was there and so the scenery did dissipate into a foggy mass. Never mind, onwards to Glasgow.
9303519.jpg”> Broad St. is used for American movies because of its likeness! Source: Google
This was a great city. Yes, I was surprised to
This was a great city. Yes, I was surprised too. My favourite experience on this trip around Scotland. Full of vibrancy and interest although still cold and miserable. I was able to enjoy the glorious architecture, and immerse myself in the culture too. The city has so much to offer.
The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is a must do. I was lucky enough to be there when the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Exhibition was on and was incredibly fascinating. Before I left, the following morning I visited the Mackintosh House. A great way to finish my visit to Scotland.
During the above visit to Scotland I did a few detours to such sights as the Forth Bridge/s and the Falkirk Wheel.
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This walk captures the beauty of the Cote d’Azur and is a superb way of ingratiating yourself into the natural environment of this area. Plus the simple fact that your can park for free at the Plage de la Garoupe beach and then feed your soul with the magnificent 5k walk. It only takes about a couple of hours and is well worth doing. The walk can be rocky in places so do wear trainers or sensible footwear.
Cote d’Azur is known for magnificent properties, manicured gardens and superfluous wealth but this walk is surprisingly simple and enjoys a wild natural landscape. Also, you have the Mercantour National Park and the Estérel mountains to savour as you scramble carefully over the rocks.
On one occasion, I nearly fell because I was so busy looking at the clear blue sea, mountains, flowers and resplendent landscape. Parts of the path are properly built pathways but then dissipate into rocks, beach, and steep steps so can be precarious.
The limestone cliffs are very pretty because they are covered in glorious vivid flora, olive trees, exotic cacti and the cumbersome agaves. The blend of crystal clear blue water, rocky coves and mother nature is spectacular.
The final part of the walk is along a road called Avenue de Beaumont and then along Avenue de la Tour Gandolphe. Make time to enjoy the gardens and general serene landscape of this gorgeous vicinity, and then when you locate the beach, you can then enjoy some refreshment at the beach café and languish some more. Great fun.
We decided to venture out for a day in Chilham for a bluebell walk which was organised by the RSC (Royal Society of Chemistry). Luckily, we were blessed with a warm, sunny day and arrived an hour early due to my husband’s keenness for punctuality! The village is small with a medieval square overlooked by the impressive and imposing Chilham Castle. We wandered around hoping to find a tea shop open for a quick cuppa, but nothing opened until ten o’clock. They maybe missing a business trick here. It didn’t matter, it is wonderful to stroll around and take photos including the Tudor houses and St. Mary’s Church.
Everyone arrived and met at Shelly’s tea shop, which was also irritatingly shut, and we introduced ourselves and ventured forth towards King’s Wood. The landscape and woodland around Chilham is truly exquisite and the bluebells just seem to become more impressive as the walk continued.
The walking folks were very friendly and I discussed my interest in health and fitness with a lady called Kate who was into fitness and yoga, and a possible hope to do a charity 10k run in the Autumn. Everyone, was very encouraging, but I’m still considering the challenge because trust me, it will be a massive task for me.
Some scientific conversations did ensue and we heard an interesting story about how nerve gas doesn’t dissipate into the atmosphere and could be doing the rounds on our currency! Then we were told a tale about when currency is scientifically examined, all sorts of drug traces are found…
The walk was fun and it is always interesting to chat to new people and hear their take on life. The views are incredible around Chilham and I’m sure the castle is well worth a visit too.
After we had our lunch, we drove to Whitstable and after eventually parking the car, we wandered along the sea front. My goodness, it was busy. Apparently, this is where London people go to at the weekend. In other words, it has become the trendy place to visit. It shows too. All the old huts and houses have been painted and refurbished and of course, the property prices have, no doubt, shot up.
To be fair, it is a great place to visit with the selection of arty galleries, shops, (micro) pubs, restaurants, etc. We have decided to come back on a week day to explore properly and hopefully it won’t be quite so busy.
All in all a fabulous day out and I can’t wait to go back to Chilham and Whitstable.
So after the flu nonsense, things are slowly getting back to normal. Because of this, I thought I’d do a chatty blog post about my recent favourites.
I went to see the Darkest Hour with my friend which, as I’m sure you know, is a British war film directed by Joe Wright, written by Anthony McCarten and stars Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill. Yes, I liked it and found the drama, atmosphere and historical ambience, extremely authentic. Obviously, some of the plot is fictional but lets face it, we all got the drift! Excellent film and well worth seeing. Films/dramas are good for reminding people, particularly the very young, of what went on in the past.
The other film I saw was The Post, an American political thriller, directed by Steven Spielberg, written by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer. This film stars Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks. Both Streep and Hanks performed well and you couldn’t help thinking about the film’s allusions to Nixon and Trump. The plot relates to leaked papers about the Vietnam war, being surreptitiously leaked to The New York Times and after a court injunction ending up being published by The Washington Post during the early 70s. The Post is owned by heiress Katharine Graham, who is often overruled by overbearing male colleagues. That is until she decides to publish the papers and sticks to her brave decision despite frenetic opposition. This is another good film which, enamored from a feminist viewpoint and reminded me how times have changed in the workplace. Most bosses, in this film, were portrayed as male and well over 40. The youngsters were used as message carriers, etc. However, dare I say, I sat thinking older people have enormous value in the workplace because of wisdom, knowledge and experience. Not always sure if giving an inexperienced youngster a senior position (as nowadays) unless a brilliant incumbent, is a good idea. The film shows how feminism has changed times over the last 40 years, but I must confess, found the age issue as above, more prevalent and captivating.
Gravesend, Photography and a Community Owned Pub!
A few weeks ago, we decided to drive towards north Kent. Having suffered flu, I was desperate to go out for the day. We drove to Dartford, and found it a bit run down and uninteresting so drove to Gravesend which was quite curious, in a strange sort of way.
We wandered about the ancient town and found a vintage market and some independent shops. We stopped for a cup of tea in a vintage cafe and then strolled towards the Gravesend Town Pier. This is the world’s oldest surviving cast iron pier, built in 1834 and refurbished in 2004 as a restaurant.
The view, which included the Gravesend – Tilbury Ferry, was splendidly gritty with the grey, glowing sky and wind turbines. Out came the Nikon camera.
The views were dull and spectacular at the same time. Grey clouds, distant industry, moving turbines and a red vessel. Many minutes were spent fiddling with the white balance and appropriate camera settings to get the gritty photo. It was exciting because I knew I could capture something different from the usual landscape photography.
The LV21 lightship is moored here and a spectacular sight. It was built in 1963 and a unique 40m steel-hulled lightship which saw most service, off the Kent coast. She has now undergone a transformation into a floating cultural facility designed to host artists of various disciplines.
The Community Pub!
Eventually we left Gravesend and drove towards Stockbury to visit a community owned pub, the Harrow. During 2016, a public meeting attracted 150 folks to dig deep into their pockets and raise £300,000 to save the pub. Well, what an amazing place. A beautiful bar area, friendly staff serving a wonderful selection of ales, craft beer, gin, whisky and wine. Oh, and the food looked good as well. The landlady was trying to eat a roast dinner whilst serving the thirsty community. Up and down like a yo-yo, poor women. She kept smiling and seemed to enjoy her role. Wonderful place, just wish I had a jolly, well kept local like this one, near me.
We’ve finally had some snow!
A few days ago we had a couple of inches of snow so I grabbed my Nikon, and went off traipsing over fields to shoot the snow filled landscape, which is something I hadn’t done before because the UK snow doesn’t reach Kent very often. It was quite awkward trying to take photos and keep the camera dry. Somehow managed to take some shots whilst the snow was falling and even managed to crawl on the freezing grass for one photo. Great fun though, and I liked one or two of the results. It is true what the experts say, you have to take about 50 photos to find one you like.
Musings about Blogging
Recently, because of the time of year, found it tricky to find enough to write about, but as I’ve sat down this sunny, spring like afternoon, I’ve managed to find a few snippets to blog about. So the moral of the story is, if you’ve run out of content ideas, just sit down and write!
Thank you for reading my blog and don’t forget to follow.
Unfortunately, I’ve been poorly for much of January and only just getting back to normal. To be honest, it has made me feel low and lethargic. Hence, the lack of posts lately! However, one thing I have enjoyed is copious amounts of walking, as I’m recuperating.
This year seems to be the year for walking, as a form of exercise. The weather can be cold and grey, but it has also been sunny, cold with some beautiful sunsets. Walking is a great way to explore places and become fitter.
If you mix it up a bit, it becomes fun too. For example, you can go to local parks, countryside walks, town or city walks or go around a National Trust place.
Haysden Country Park, Tonbridge
London walks are enormous fun. You can discover squares, alleys, lanes, parks, heaths, gardens, palaces, rivers and so on. The variety of terrain is fantastic for the urban investigator and as well as historic areas you can view the visually spectacular as well. Certainly a different way of exercising and seeing the capital!
Another way of making walking even more interesting is to do them in conjunction with another hobby. I’ve recently participated in a photography course which although basic, provided a wonderful insight into the world of photography. So sometimes the camera 🎥 comes with me and I stop and take photos.
Yesterday, I went to Haysden Park and snapped away. The blue sky and sunshine was very uplifting and I was impressed with the improvements made to the paths and area. When we arrived, I was furious to see you had to pay to park which is ludicrous. Yes, I know it may go towards the upkeep, but can’t help feeling it’s a bit ‘brave new world’ when one day, we will only have a few green places left to go to, and will have to pay to enter and enjoy them. Sorry, 😐 got a little creative there, but paying to enter green spaces is the beginning of the end, isn’t it?
The park was busy, probably because of the glorious weather. The lake is beautiful and we loved seeing all the birds, particularly the graceful swans. Two swans had a noisy fight, literally a few feet away, which was captured with the Nikon (just).
The benefits of walking are tantamount to other exercise, especially if you do 10,000 steps per day. Rather a tall order to achieve daily, but a worthwhile challenge. If you are not used to exercise, it is the safest form of exercise, a way to lose weight and radically improve your health. 150 minutes per week of exercise, is the recommended amount we should all be doing and walking is something fairly easy to slot into life.
For me, I’ve been enjoying local parks, group countryside walks and solitary dog walks through local woodland and orchards. What I do fancy is some more city walks because it is great to explore new areas. Sometimes I just snap away on my phone rather than take a camera, but I’ve enjoyed wandering around the countryside and recommend to all. Take a good map so you don’t get lost and walk at a brisk pace. The speed you should be walking is 3 mph and be able to talk but not sing.
A great source of ideas is the internet because you can find some simple circular routes near where you live. To pass the time, I sometimes listen to a podcast or music, but this is rare, as I like to enjoy the surroundings in peace. All very tranquil and relaxing, particularly if you are having a stressful time.
My latest passion is putting a few of my photos on Instagram and a great way to learn from other professionals and decide what makes a good photo. Plus, it is somewhere to file your photos and receive opinions/comments from others.
According to research, walking makes you happy, healthy and can save your life. Apparently, this is probably the answer to the inactivity which is common now and the associated problems such as obesity. Face it, walking is a simple, cheap occupation and not very time consuming. I still like to run and workout, but increasingly, venture outside and go for a brisk walk.
The inactive lifestyle that seems so popular now, is serious because four out of ten men and five out of ten women are not moving enough. 60% of adults, and 30% of children are overweight or obese and this is costing the UK, £10 billion per year.
My issue with this is that not enough is done to help prevent the various illnesses caused by inactivity and overeating. It is something I seriously struggle with. People tell me this is because doctors want to prescribe drugs for business reasons. This is probably a little unfair, but surely more can be done to promote a healthy life? The stuff on TV tends to promote diet, fitness, and is obviously promoting certain products, businesses and supermarkets. More could be about stuff like new activities, hobbies, books, etc. which feed the soul!
So we need to do more and eat healthier in order to avoid cancer, heart disease and diabetes, etc. Apart from these reasons walking is a way of meeting others; it is cheap, usually safe from injuries and a good way to get to where you need to be both mentally and physically.
One reason I like to exercise is to…, wait for it, raise my mood. If I’m feeling lazy and eating too much wrong food or drink, the mood does become lower. Clearly, exercise combats this and if you run/walk outside it is a great antidote to the winter blues.
Research also shows an increase in creative flow. This doesn’t surprise me because often when out running or walking, I find myself forming ideas about this blog or a new project.
According to a 2014 study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, Learning, Memory, and Cognition, going for a walk can spark creativity. “Researchers administered creative-thinking tests to subjects while seated and while walking and found that the walkers thought more creatively than the sitters,”
My plan is to attempt a healthy month in February. The reason I haven’t done the diet bit much in January is because I can’t cope with the Dry January thing (yes, a letter has been sent to the charity concerned) and everybody flocking to the gym. My aim is to lose some weight as I’ve put over a stone on since this time last year. I’ve started with the exercise and cut out some naughty foods, and a serious attempt is booked for February. Recently, I listened to a podcast and they suggested listing things you wanted to do this year. I’ve incorporated mine into The Plan. This way, I can look back and see what I’ve accomplished. The notes/ideas are in brackets and may be changed.
Exercise (maybe do an organized 10k run, maybe? ;-))
Explore (local walking and this has already been started)
Read (books not internet and new focus on non-fiction)
Travel (particularly UK/Holland/Scandinavia??)
Healthier foods (new recipes, already made some veggie prawn patties)
Avoid drinking alcohol during the day (it wipes me out and makes me poorly)
Photography (maybe do another course?)
So I’ll continue to run/walk and hopefully some of the December weight will dissipate eventually. Oh, it is an ongoing battle, but someone’s got to do it.
The January blues appear to be even more prevalent this year. I’ve read several articles and heard many people complain about feeling ill and or despondent this year. Does this resonate with you?
Psychological research helps discover the reasons for this annual lack of vitality and is intensified by a perception of how someone wants things to be and how they actually are. The disparity between the two are highlighted during January after the excitement of December. This is not helped by the cultural activities which include spending so much condensed time with friends and family and in my opinion, now it is splashed across the internet, is exacerbated even more. Apparently, it is a time when people think about what they have achieved and this can lower their mood. The research at the University of Exeter explores what the mechanisms underpinning depression are and find the underlying factors which cause depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders. The research concentrates on three main areas which include underlying psychological mechanisms, psychological treatments plus trials and third, increase the accessibility of evidence-based treatments for as many people as possible.
The research determines how you can attempt to improve your mood and unsurprisingly include physical and mental exercise with an emphasis on socialising, hobbies but there is an interesting thought process that also helps according to Professor Ed Watkins, Director of the University of Exeter’s Mood Disorders Centre (MDC), :
“There is good evidence that being more active – physically and mentally – connecting with other people, getting absorbed in interesting activities, becoming more concrete and specific in your thinking (eg, by asking how?) rather than thinking about meanings and implications (eg, asking why?) all help people to feel better.”
Ask yourself how rather than just why? This is making the thinking process more discernible, helpful and can change our perceptions.
The unit is working with Dutch colleagues processing controlled trials by providing internet treatment. Preliminary data shows this treatment reduces the risk of depression by a third. The unit is working with the charity Help for Heroes to support the mental health of veterans and their families. Also, a trial will be implemented by NHS Cornwall with a 1000 patients. Interesting times.
One thing we do know, is feeling low in January is common and so at least if you are feeling fed up, you know you are not alone. Studies have shown that you can boost your mood by having Vitamin D. During the darker months we are not getting enough Vitamin D due to the lack of sunshine. This is another reason to go out for a walk!
Many foods help with this too and include:
Fortified breakfast cereals and dairy, eggs and fish such as sardines, herrings and salmon are all good sources. Plus, along with improving your mood, topping up on vitamin D can help strengthen the immune system and keep bones and teeth healthy.
Another tip is to lay on the floor with your legs raised which helps boost energy and makes you feel calm. This is from the Chinese principle of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and relaxes the back and opens the stomach energy channel. Health expert Fiona Slatter suggests you do it when you wake up when your body needs the energy.
To sum up, there are many things you can do to help with the January blues but obviously if you feel really ill you should visit the good old GP. Personally, my favourite exercise at present is a countryside walk. I’ve done quite a bit of walking lately, some in a solitary way and some with others. Going with a local group is good because you hear some of the local news and about how others are coping with their lives. Exploring the local area by yourself is a fruitful way of doing something for your soul and is invigorating.
Something like checking out your outside space could be prudent. Wash your car, sweep the drive or tidy the garden. You may start chatting to the neighbours! Also, book a day trip, holiday or some sort of adventure. If you haven’t much dosh (it is January after all) go on an exploration adventure and take a picnic!
Hope you find some of the research and tips useful because it does seem to be a widely discussed issue. Think we all need some motivation to spark some life back into ourselves. As usual, I need to follow this advice too. Sometimes, you do have to just embrace the winter months and at least we can try to convince ourselves that spring is around the corner!
Physical and mental exercise
Becoming more concrete and specific in your thinking (eg, by asking how?) rather than thinking about meanings and implications (eg, asking why?)
After my rant about the festivities, I had a wonderful holiday and feel quite refreshed. However, now realise some motivation is required to move forward any projects, etc., planned for this year. Funny how you tell yourself ‘after December, I’ll do this, that and the other’ and now it’s here, finally, one needs to make some decisions about life! Trying not to panic haha.
After the family gathering on the 25th Dec, which was a hoot, we went to Sheffield Park Gardens on Boxing Day and had a saunter around the lakes, decorated Christmas gardens and woodland. We took a picnic lunch, because, and I must plan this better, we had so much food left over. Next year, I must remember to prepare less food. I really didn’t need to bake those lemon cakes, and quite so many mince pies. Do you do this?
When in the car for a coffee break, the heavens opened and it poured with rain, so as it was 1 o’clock, we had our lunch. It was delicious and I’ve decided to start taking picnics more often because it’s so much less hassle than queuing up with the crowds and over paying for something quite ordinary.
We ventured back around the gardens and I concentrated on taking some photos with my new camera, the Nikon D3300 which was great fun. The place is beautiful even in the winter. The trees expose their structural form and reflect over the lakes. Having recently done a photography course, I was rather chuffed with the results and hopefully will improve during 2018.
We explored the 250 acres of parkland which dates back to the 18th century and you find yourself pausing and admiring the view of copses of trees around the hills. It is a wonderful place to explore, reflect and admire the parkland, streams, meadows and woodland. If you haven’t been, I can highly recommend a visit. A relaxing and serene environment where you feel you can get away from it all.
The next day, I took the borrowed dog, Oscar, for a long walk. It was quite windy and the sky was incredible with an amazing sunset. Really enjoy our walks and I’ve got to know many woodland and field walks in the area.
On Thursday, 28 December, we visited family and enjoyed a trip to the pub for a couple of beers. I drank a very hoppy Dark Star, Hop Head. The Land of Liberty in Hertfordshire, is a CAMRA pub and always has an exceedingly splendid selection of beers.
On Friday, 29 December we went with my son and girlfriend to see the latest Star Wars film, The Last Jedi. I cooked a beef casserole which was delicious and made a change from turkey. The film was brilliant and wonderfully produced. To be honest, I found it a little long, but I did enjoy it.
“The greatest teacher, failure is.” – Yoda
Mistakes are inevitable. They hurt. They’re hard. But we learn from them. Lift someone up after a misstep with this quote from Yoda.
On Saturday, we met my husband’s brothers for a few beers and a meal in London, Bakers Street. We met up in The Volunteer a pub near Regent’s Park. It seemed funny, because I used to drink there when I worked in the area many years ago. Someone then told me that people don’t drink during the lunchtime anymore. This I find hard to believe. Although, judging by the amount of suits in the pubs during the evening, I assume evening drinking is the new trend? Anyway, the food was good and I tried to have something healthy so opted for a Verdure and then Seabass for my main course. Very pleasant.
On Sunday, we were rather relieved to have ‘a day off’ which is a little ironic as it was New Year’s Eve. We stayed in and enjoyed some beer and watched the BBC drama ‘The Miniaturist’. It is about a new, young wife who is given a doll’s house for a wedding present. The exquisitely made contents, which she mysteriously receives, appear to reflect the Brandt family’s hidden secrets. The drama is majestic and creepy, but quite enticing. The photography of the Amsterdam canal house is extraordinarily clever. In fact, you feel like you are watching a Dutch masterpiece.
We were so pleased not to have to go out, we couldn’t even be bothered to go to our local. Rock and Roll. Strange how we go out all year round, but stay in the one night most people go out!
After all that, although I am against dry January, because it does harm to the pub industry, I do feel I need a break from alcohol and rich food so will focus on feeling better with some exercise and fresh air, etc. More on that in the next blog posts!
So another year over and onwards and upwards. Happy New Year everyone!
Christmas, which annoyingly starts earlier and earlier in the UK, is not always about being happy, joyful and full of glitz for many people. It can be a time of childhood memories, sadness and grief. Everyone, has someone they have lost and miss and unfortunately, for me, it seems a time when I remember missing family. Probably, most people feel like this, don’t they? If someone is not embracing Christmas the reasons could be some of the above and not because they are horrible. Unfortunately, the irritating commercialism, which starts after summer, doesn’t help. It is a reflective time and I think we must all remember this and be aware that not everyone is happy and joyful at Christmas all of the time. Personally, I enjoy it when it finally arrives but hate all the stuff before December. Does any of the above resonate with you?
Dickensian Christmas Festival…
Once I spotted the ad for the ‘Dickensian Christmas Festival’ it went in the diary. I’ve been feeling fed up and eager to have a day out. It is a wonderful occasion when folks dress up as Dickensian characters and partake in various activities which starts off with the morning parade.
After the parade the characters wander about amongst the crowds and mingle. Some perform mini plays, magic, readings, dances, singing and photo opportunities. Also, there are various activities aimed at children, such a Punch and Judy. It is a wonderful and great way to immerse oneself in all of these English traditions.
The parade was an exciting affair, led by the Mayor of Medway and starting in the High Street onwards into the Esplanade and continuing up Castle Hill before finishing on the Boley Hill Stage. A fantastic site which is a brilliant festive occasion for everyone from the surrounding communities.
We enjoyed some delicious mulled wine and a mince pie, then later on, for lunch, we succumbed to a juicy burger. It was great fun to spot all the Dickensian characters and the day flew by.
CAMRA Christmas Meal…
Last Sunday, we had our CAMRA Christmas meal which was a great success. This was partly because the wives turned up and I was able to have a good natter. My only complaint, was that I didn’t like any of the beers because they were all dark, so I had wine. The establishment didn’t have any craft beers either and this surprised me, because even my local has and I think they are missing a trick. Anyway, the food was excellent and delicious and this was followed by a jolly singsong of Christmas carols and a visit by Father Christmas. The Father Christmas was very authentic I must say! After this excitement, the village tree was lit with much fanfare. Another excellent day!
The presents have now been wrapped, cards delivered so now it is time to concentrate on food. I shall try and locate the Christmas pud which is in a cupboard somewhere and at least two years old! This is the last one of the batch of puddings, so I will have to do some more next year. For the actual day, I will make some mince pies, a chocolate squidgy roll and a cake or two. Busy times!
Yes, you’ve probably guessed it, the fitness thing is not going to plan at the moment. Having said that, it could be worse. I’ve stopped eating rubbish and not drinking too much. Also, I’ve really enjoyed some invigorating walks around the surrounding countryside with the borrowed dog, Oscar.
The gym has been used four or five times a week so I don’t feel too fat but can see the weight is not dropping off either. From January the 2nd it will be all systems go though. I promise.
Promoting the blog – Instagram
My latest social media effort has been with Instagram which is fun particularly as I’m interested in photography. Photos are being posted most days and I am beginning to receive some interest now. It seems better than Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest but I will keep you informed. So do follow me if you are on Instagram.
Enjoy the festivities everyone and thank you for reading my blog, liking and commenting which is much appreciated.