I’ve been a bit absent without leave just lately, mostly because we’ve been very, very busy (as ever), but also because we haven’t really done a lot in recent weeks. We’ve not managed any long walks. We’ve not manage many days out. And we’ve not had much chance to do much around the house.
We have been on a few short days out, though, including a short walk at Bempton Cliffs to see the puffins (we saw about 4 but the tripod wasn’t really stable enough to take pictures through the spotting scope), and a short walk around a local lake that has been recently renamed a county park – something the poet found amusing, as he remembers what it was like when he was a kid. While at Bempton we joined the RSPB.
Over on Words Worth Writing you can see what I’ve managed to do for work, including the publication of at least 2 new books. And as the new books have slowly been republished, the old books have been taken out of the shops – electronic and hard copy.
I won some tickets to see the Harlem Globetrotters and we’ll be going there in a couple of weeks, so there may be pictures to share. And I’ve been trialling some products that I’m sworn to secrecy about, so I can’t blog about those yet. It’s been interesting, though.
In the office I’ve rebooted Outlook on the computer to keep me on track, help me stick to hour-long work sessions and remind me to take a break from staring at the computer. I’ve also been using the Pomodoro tomato technique again to get me though a few editing jobs.
Rufus celebrated his fifth birthday on Friday, so we had a biscuit hunt. I dropped down into the next stone zone on the scales, and then crept up again – but it’s still hovering around there. And the poet has lost an impressive 22lb, dropping into the next stone zone twice! He’s looking very good.😉
And I think that’s just about all the news I can share at the moment.
What have you been up to?
We’ve not had a lot of time to ourselves for a few weeks and have been dashing all over the place visiting various family members in various places. But I did have a brand new pair of walking boots for my birthday, I did want to at least start to break them in, and we did want to try at least a little walk where we can.
So, not this weekend just gone but last Sunday, we went to Kinver Edge near Stourbridge. Actually, we started off by going to the Lickey Hills Country Park, but couldn’t park in the very busy car park. Then we tried the Clent Hills, but couldn’t find anywhere to park. Then we grabbed a quick lunch and then I took us on a magical mystery tour. And we ended up at the rock houses at Kinver.
I’ve wanted to see these houses ever since I found out they existed, but I’d tried to find them before sat-nav and got hopelessly lost. This time I was able to plug the post code into my mobile phone and just tell the poet which way to drive.
At first we thought we’d struggle to park here too, as the first car park you come to was already packed. But we drove on up the hill a little way and found another, bigger, emptier car park. It seems this was the car park used by regulars and locals too, as there were lots preparing to walk their dogs or coming back from walking their dogs.
The signpost said that the houses were only 500m away, or we could divert upwards towards a viewpoint. As I was dying for the loo, we said we’d visit the houses first, use the facilities, and walk up to the viewpoint after. But we had a perfectly adequate view from the rock houses, so decided in the end not to carry on upwards.
The houses, managed by the National Trust, are on 3 levels. The 1st level has 3 restored houses; the 2nd level is closed to the public; and the 3rd level has the café and toilets plus a couple of caves you can walk inside. There is a piped soundtrack in the bottom houses, and they felt quite cool. Apparently, however, they were supposed to keep cool in the summer but warm in the winter once the fires were lit.
I’ve always wanted to see them ever since my dad mentioned he used to know someone who lived there in the 1930s. The houses were, in fact, lived in right up to the 1960s, but had to be abandoned due to lack of sanitation.
On the footpath back to the car park is a small adventure area and the dog climbed up a stair of logs where the poet could take his picture at the top. They both did very well!😉
The boots held up, didn’t even give a hint of rubbing or pinching, and were very comfortable.
We only walked 1.04 miles this time and only burned 225 calories. But there’s plenty more for visitors to see and do.
When the poet’s son #2 + g/f said they wanted to go for a walk last Sunday, we decided to go to an old familiar/old favourite/very local one of ours: Langsett Reservoir. This is a fairly easy 4 miles and close enough to home to not need a picnic.
It really is only 10 minutes away, but when we got there, we were surprised at how many others had the same idea. The car park was packed. The overflow was packed. And a little layby on the opposite side of the road was almost packed – so that’s where we parked.
Langsett is a very dog-friendly place and we were even able to take Rufus off his lead a few times. He ran on ahead and only once ran off after another dog, which, fortunately, was a big softie and didn’t mind his fussing.
There was a young girl there who really didn’t want to be. Her dad (we presume) clearly thought it was a very good way to spend a Sunday morning with the dog, but all the way around, we could hear her grizzling, asking why they couldn’t turn back, complaining about it being too far.
We were intially quite warm walking. The weather was grey and overcast, and a tad chilly. But the exercise soon warmed us up.
However, the higher we started to climb, the faster the temperature started to drop, and by the time we reached the top (banner pic along top), it started to snow! I was so happy!
So were son #2 + g/f. In fact, they both seemed delighted!
The poet, on the other hand, distinctly looked a bit “boo!” Rufus didn’t even notice. He was just having such a great time.
All the way along the top the poet and his son were scouring the gorse for signs of grouse. They saw a few. But by the time we reached “North America”, there was one just sitting on a wall. The picture’s a bit zoomed-in, but at least he looks nice and plump.
The path underfoot was mostly very good, with the first part from the visitor centre down to the lake recently re-sanded. It was a bit muddy in places, but nothing we couldn’t easily get across or around.
By the end of the walk we’d probably all just about had enough. We were ready to get out of our walking boots/shoes/clothes and into a nice warm car.
The dog, naturally, could have gone on forever. But within only 10 minutes again, we were back home where a loaf was baking in the bread maker and 2 lamb shanks were roasting in the slow cooker.
Son #2 + g/f said they’d love to come walking with us again, and it was nice to have them with us.
Altogether, including the extra bit from and back to the car, we walked 4.18 miles and we burned 560 calories.
We had a very busy weekend, which included a hospital visit 100 miles away on Sunday. But we still wanted to squeeze in a walk if we could.
At first we were going to drop off at a country park closer to home off the M1, but as we approached signs on the M42 to Bosworth Battlefield, we made a snap decision to go there instead.
The poet (a Yorkshireman) has always wanted to see where his last true king was killed in battle and it’s been on our to-do list for a few years now.
So we veered off the motorway and headed towards Market Bosworth in Leicestershire.
We arrived at the signed car park for the battlefield at 3pm, which was also at the Market Bosworth Country Park. There was a map at the toilet block, indicating a 3-mile walk to Bosworth Battlefield.
If we did that, it would be 5pm before we got back, and that was if we managed 3 miles an hour – with pictures, we often only manage 2 miles an hour. Not only was it pushing it slightly on the distance, we also risked losing the light and getting shut into the car park.
But we had lots to look at anyway, and we decided we’d see how far we’d get before we wanted to turn around and come back.
Throughout the country park there are interesting little pockets, like the community woodland planted in 1999, like various wood carvings, and like the boardwalk over the pond.
We walked over the boardwalk, but it was very windy and we almost got blown into the water. Rufus wasn’t very happy on there either … so we made him come back that way too, minus his lead. (Rotten humans!)
It kept him calm and close for a short while at least …
We’d reached a cow field and were a bit close to the main road, so we checked our location on the MapMyWalk terrain map and saw that we’d actually gone in the opposite direction to the battlefield.
So we turned and retraced our steps, coming out at the pond and boathouse.
On the way back we paused at a woodland where some “interesting birds” can be seen …
… and as we worked our way down the list the poet pointed out that we get ALL of them on our bird table on a regular basis.
We walked around the pond so the poet could take some pictures.
We met a poor little pug in a pushchair because his back legs had gone. His owners were taking him to feed bread to the ducks on the pond.
We decided to head back to the car park from there as the light was starting to wane, and we made full use of the facilities while we were there – surprised they were even open at this time of year.
Now we know where it is and where to park, we’re going to head back there again. But we’re going to aim at arriving sooner so that we can do the walk to the battlefield.
It was about 4:30pm by the time we were settled back in the car again. The dog didn’t really want to get back in the car.
He looked as though he was saying: “Okay, comfort break over. Let’s carry on with this walk.”
Eventually he settled back down on the back seat, but he was sulking that it wasn’t a very big walk and he’d been stuck in the car a long time.
Once again, I couldn’t get the MapMyWalk app to display properly on my phone, and at the end of the walk, it hadn’t even registered either. It may be my phone. It’s not been right since I dropped it down the toilet while we were camping last year.
The poet, however, still has it on his phone, and we walked 2.1 miles and burned 298 calories.
I didn’t have time again to post many posts last week, on any of the blogs. So here is the “my fat year” post for last week and for this.
The poet has lost 11lb so far this year – he’d lost another one too, but it snuck back on again – while I’ve lost 6lb. Last week this was closer to a 4lb loss, so there’s 2 off just this week.
We’ve had company, though, since Friday, and it’s difficult to stick to a healthy eating routine when you’re entertaining. He went back home yesterday, though, so we’re starting again today.
One big change in our diet has been the addition of fruit instead of cakes, biscuits, crisps and chocolate. And we’re starting to run out of ideas. The poet takes 3 pieces of fruit to work with him each morning, whereas I have a glass of juice with my breakfast and then 2 more portions during the day.
Bananas, apples, pears and oranges are all easy to take to work or leave on the desk or take on a walk or a day out with us. Grapes and other berries have to be counted and contained, so they’re not so easy, and melons have to be cut and wrapped or contained. Other exotic or tropical fruits also need more preparation.
The other big change is the reduction in processed foods. On Friday night, as we’d been collecting our guest, we had fish and chips for tea – and we blummin enjoyed it too. But on Saturday we had toad in the hole (with added/hidden veggies – my dad didn’t realise we were feeding him mushrooms!), on Sunday we had a roast chicken with Yorkshire puddings, on Monday we had cottage pie, and on Tuesday we had fish – all cooked from scratch by the poet.
On Saturday I made a 6-portion fruit trifle, and on Tuesday I made a low fat/low sugar 4-portion apple crumble.
But yesterday, another busy day, we succumbed to cheese & shroom or ham & cheese toasted sandwiches for tea. And we shared the last portion of the apple crumble between us. Very nice.
This evening the poet has band practice and I’ll be doing the weekly shop. So it might be another quick tea tonight. Apart from that, though, we’re back on the wagon – and still losing weight anyway.
This week’s Diary of a Freelance Writer can be found on Words Worth Writing today. The post is here, the new blog is here. All subsequent diaries will also be posted on Words Worth Writing from now on.
This is the LAST time I’ll do a link on Baggins Bottom. Please make sure you have the new writing blog bookmarked if you’d like to see it.
Thanks for visiting.