Saturday, 31 December 2016

Last walk of 2016

We're off into Sheffield in a while for a proper New Year's Eve in our Sheffield local. They have an 80's band playing who are really good. Excellent musicians and witty too. I'm really looking forward to it.

I've had more good New Year's Eve nights with Richard in 7 years together than in the previous 40 years. They usually endedup being totally underwhelming or too pressurised but now whether we stay in, go to the local or into town, whatever, we have a laugh and a good time together.

I wasn't going to post again today but wanted to share my photos from our last walk of 2016. It was very windy and the sun was slipping down behind the hill. I wanted to get some height and walk a bit further as I hadn't done much today so poor old Rich (who had played 18 holes of golf this morning) dragged his sore feet up the hill without complaint.  He he he...

The light was splendid - golden accents dusting the hillside.

I love it round here.

Happy New Year everyone.

2016 - Zen and Me

As this is my last post of the year I thought I would share some photos from a walk I took with the dogs a couple of weeks ago.  We went to Shatton and walked along the river to Offerton Hall and back.  Long term readers will recognize this as one of my favourite walks.  It was crisp, sunny and beautiful.

I could have turned back at this point but it was too lovely so we walked on to the stepping stones.

I'm glad we weren't crossing here as the stepping stones looked a bit slippy!

Instead we turned right up the big hill for a long slog nearly to the top. The view to the right is of Hathersage and the moors beyond.

Then we turn back towards Bamford and see Bamford Edge and Win Hill ahead.

A happy piggy at Offerton Hall.  Such piercing eyes.

So, what of the Zen??  I have been thinking about this over the last few weeks.  I noticed that wearing the Fitbit is changing more than just my eating or exercise habits but my whole approach to life.  It started with parking further away from my destination to pack more steps in and taking the stairs when I could take the lift instead.  It led to being more deliberate at work and around the house.  Instead of multi-tasking and combining trips around the office or house I am doing one task at a time and, if that means I walk further, then that is a good thing.

This means that I'm accomplishing more as I finish more jobs off.  Which has given me a sense of satisfaction and also a feeling of having more control in my life.  This in turn is helping me tackle chores and tasks which I otherwise might have put off because, you know, success breeds success.

So, in work, not only have I completed lots of jobs recently, I have also properly finished off  the files, including the post completion admin which I often "leave for later", ie. never.  This is (obviously) more efficient but it is also a more satisfying way of working.  I'm doing the same at home too which is probably the only reason we managed to finish the bedroom before Christmas!

I've also noticed that when I'm driving I'm much calmer and less stressy.  I wasn't a particularly stressy driver before but now I'm just taking things steady.  I went to the supermarket this morning and parked in the quiet corner of the car park avoiding the manic rushing people desperately trying to find a space next to the front door.  One guy had even crammed his giant 4x4 into a space which wasn't a space over the zebra crossing. Why?  There were loads of spaces just 30 yards away??

In the shop I was much the same.  I realised at the checkout that I had forgotten a couple of things but rather than lugging my shopping round to pick up the last few items I just took my first shop to the car and then went back for the stragglers.  It was very relaxing.

I'm assuming that you grown up types have already learned this important life lesson but, for me, it is better to have learned it at 47 than not at all!

So, along with my desire to keep on stepping and logging my calories, I'm going to add an aspiration to hold onto this relaxed, thoughtful and deliberate attitude towards all aspects of my life.  I hope it will help me stay in control at work as next year is going to be a bit of a nightmare.  My colleague has just left but is not being replaced immediately so the pressure is going to be piling on me in spadefuls.  It is not my fault though so I am determined to retain my work/life balance and hopefully the new Zen me will be able to cope well with the challenge.

I hope you all find (or hold onto) whatever will help you make the absolute most of 2017.  Have a great year!

Thursday, 29 December 2016

We have been off for a few days and yesterday spent the morning champing at the bit waiting for some friends to call round.  They eventually turned up but only had time for a quick visit. Lovely to see them and we have a proper weekend booked in now but I wish they'd let us know as we could have been outside in the frozen sunshine!

I get very frustrated when I can't get outdoors on free days off. It wasn't all bad as I did spend some time  tidying up in the garden but picking up dog poo and sweeping up frozen rotted leaves is not QUITE what I had in mind for quality outdoor time!!

The minute they left we grabbed the dogs and managed a good 80 minute tramp round the village. It was getting pretty cold as the sun had slipped behind the hill but was still gorgeous as ever. Well, you can see for yourself as the photos are above.

Today I have been at work.  Pointlessly we have to have cover in the office between Christmas and New Year so every year I endure an irritating trip to Rotherham to do little of any great importance. Today I did lots of useful administration type tasks but nothing which couldn't have waited. I didn't receive a single email I hadn't prompted or a single phone call. Really - what is the point?!

But I made the best of it by planning (and actually going for) a run! I have not been running at work for months so this will hopefully get me back in the groove. I debuted (is that a word?) my Christmas gift running gear from my sister and it was extremely comfy and, dare I say it, stylish.

The canal was frozen and frosty and I ran a good solid 5.2km to the third lock! This is further than I used to go so the Fitbit walking and  running must be having some effect.

It's a good job I've logged some extra calories as we're out to supper soon. In fact I had better get ready now!!

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Christmas medley

Sorry if I'm out of date posting Christmas pics.  These are some photos of Dad playing the piano for carols on the Friday before Christmas. It was a great success - loads of people, enthusiastic singing, lots of village love. Because the pub carol singing is only a new tradition in Coleby I had to work quite hard to make it work and make sure Dad had a good evening.

Making sure people had a songsheet, knew what song we were on, when we were starting, how many verses, singing loud and just generally prancing around keeping it all going. Dad was a star. He didn't want to drink before he played so for the hour before he started he warmed up with Scott Joplin and classical numbers and so many people commented how lovely it was to listen to.

We had more carolling the following evening in our local back in Bradwell. I was a bit tired after the Christmas preparations so didn't get into it as much as usual but still enjoyed the atmosphere and the crowd.

So then to Christmas Day. We did some prep and then took the girls out for a festive walk round the village. It was lovely to meet people and chat and the dogs loved their Christmas outfits (sort of).

We ended up in the pub for a couple and met up with some pals for the annual new jumper parade.

Christmas lunch was lovely, but was also, to be honest, probably my worst ever Christmas meal. I just couldn't seem to concentrate so forgot things and overcooked veg (which I think is heinous). Overall it was still pleasant to eat but I could see the cracks. But that is the beauty of family - they still love you and enjoy themselves! 

Always nice though to lounge about with the dogs watching Christmas telly so a below par meal was easily forgotten.

On Boxing Day we enjoyed the true spirit of Christmas which is not carols, food, family or festive television but football! The league excelled itself and gave us a rubbish draw for the crucial Boxing Day fixture - away to Newcastle for a 7.45pm kick off which was televised. Gah! I have good friends in Newcastle and was looking forward to making a weekend of it but you can't really do that on Boxing Day!

No worries - we decided to make the best of it and wangled 3 spots on a coach which starts a mile down the road from us so could pick us up from the door. It was an early start - 11am for a 7.45 KO!

A nice comfy double decker coach with lots of room. A bright sunny day- so what do we do? 4 hours in a pub in South Shields of course! It was brilliant - a good natter, banter with the locals, a nice long chat about Australia with a Sunderland fan and I snuck off for a short walk along the beach. My, that was, erm brisk. 

Next up, we're off to St James' Park for the match. They sit away fans high up in the Gods so we had 8 floors to climb before we even reached row A and we were on row S! Good for the Fitbit I suppose. But there's not much atmosphere as you  are so far from the action. It's like watching Subbuteo. 

We were not optimistic as Wednesday has been hit and miss this season and Newcastle were top of the League.  So a great performance and a win was VERY pleasing. We sang our little hearts out and had a great evening. A late return home at 1.30am though so the win was good - would've been miserable if we'd played badly and lost.

This morning dawned bright and we had to race around to get up to Longshaw Estate in time to meet up with Rich's family for a walk with kids and dogs.  We got the last parking space (yay!) and headed out onto the hills for some welcome fresh air. We had a lovely walk and some much needed exercise.

So there you have it - our Derbyshire Christmas. It's been lovely. The house is full of tasty calorific goodies but dieting and exercise is not far away and I don't begrudge loosening up a bit for a few days. I'm in better shape to get started again than I was a couple of months ago. Hope you have all had a great time too.