Happy Easter! I hope you are enjoying a long bank holiday weekend of, well, relaxing time at home. Have you been enjoying the weather? Did you get the barbecue out? How about the paddling pool? Or maybe you have even camped in the garden? Have you enjoyed an online Easter service? Maybe you sang Thine be the Glory at the top of your voice at sunrise this morning in lieu of a sunrise service?! Or has it all been about the chocolate? What has been your favourite thing about this very different Easter weekend?
Three weeks into lock down and I’m still finding the whole thing a little hard to deal with. I know I’m not the only one who is finding a new routine hard to come by, despite fully understanding the reasons behind all the rules and restrictions. If I could sleep better then I think it would all be a bit easier, but my restless body and mind are making sleep rather elusive. I think the main thing for me this week is that I’ve quietly and calmly come to terms with the fact that there is nothing I can do to change the situation, and so there is no point moping about it. Putting that knowledge into practice is easier said than done, of course, but I am doing my best to concentrate on the positives and not dwell on the inconveniences. So here I am with another weekly blog, continuing with my attempt to speak about normal life and what that means for me.
Three Miles a Day
Have you been out for your Government-approved exercise every day this week? I’ve been really happy to see an increased use of my #OneHourOutside hashtag over on Instagram, it’s absolutely wonderful to see people’s snaps from their short daily walks, runs and cycle rides (within the rules restrictions where you live, of course). As I mentioned last week, the fact I can get out for a walk every day is something I am very thankful for. Most of the time I march for three miles around the block before coming back home to eat lunch, but at the weekends or on my days off I’ve been able to be a bit more leisurely about it.
This week’s header photo is from a walk we did this morning. We wandered out of our front door and headed north to the next village up and climbed a little hill with a great view, in a lovely relaxed five-mile round trip. We saw very few other people and enjoyed the peace (and sounds) of the countryside, I’m feeling very fortunate that I am so close to fields and meadows with plenty of public rights of way criss-crossing the landscape. Oh and it was an excellent opportunity to give my new Haglofs Gram trail shoes a bit of a test ride – the ones I ordered last weekend arrived and are just what I needed for this kind of stroll, and they’re now sat in the garden drying as I had to wash the mud off! It might not be the kind of walking I normally do on a bank holiday weekend, when I often seize the opportunity of time off work to head for something a bit taller or longer (or just further away), but I have always enjoyed exploring the footpaths from home and today having that opportunity made me very happy. The weather certainly helped – we have lucked out on that this week, haven’t we?!
If you haven’t done so already, I highly recommend spending a bit of time studying your local OS Map (which you can see on OS Maps online if you don’t have a paper version at home), to discover footpaths and routes ready to explore from your own front door. With lots more people heading out for daily walks, paths in towns and villages are much busier (at certain times of day), so it’s good to see where else you might be able to wander. I’ve plotted a few routes to follow over the next few weeks, and I am looking forward to working my way through them, praying that the nice weather we’ve had carries on for a while yet so that getting my One Hour Outside continues to be a pleasure.
Like many of those I follow on twitter and Instagram, I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in the garden. It’s been weeded and dug over, and I’ve placed an online order for some plants to fill in some gaps and make the bees and butterflies happy, and I’ve even remembered to water it every day (although my water butt is now empty so we could actually do with some rain…). Last week I remembered we bought a tub of wood paint a while back when we bought the shed, but ended up getting that dipped in wood treatment so it went unused – the gate and fence down one side of the garden is now a lovely sage green colour, time and effort very well spent. But, of course, we have more fence than shed and now I’ve run out of paint; at least I’ve made a start! Have you been tending to your garden (or window boxes) this week?
Naturally I have still also been watching an awful lot of television, although you’ll be pleased to know that I’ve reduced my screen time considerably this week! I very much enjoyed Disney’s Coco, loved the good versus evil story telling in Maleficent, and Finest Hours was also a decent watch. I also re-watched Pinocchio – what a dark film that is!! What have you been watching this week?
While I painted the shed I finished off listening to Matt Lucas’ autobiography, Little Me: My Life from A-Z, which was definitely good enough to make it into this month’s Currently Loving post when I get that written. It jumps around in time because Lucas has chosen to write it in 26 chapters from A to Z, but you get all the expected info and some great stories about his upbringing, his time on the comedy circuit, his love of Arsenal, and of course Little Britain and Les Miserables. It really is a great listen, and much better for being read by Matt Lucas himself, with all his voices!
I moved straight onto my current audio book, which is something I chose because my current Live Creatively 30-day challenge is related to reading, and the recommended books are all in the self-help genre. I’ve chosen to read (listen to…) Help Me by Marianne Power, which is subtitled “How self-help has not changed my life”. I thought it would be fun and interesting, and I am really enjoying it – read by the author, the writing style is very matter of fact, and so far the stories are making me smile almost as much as the ones in Matt Lucas’ book! I’m actually having to make a real effort to listen to audio books at the moment, as I’m not walking or getting the bus to work each day, but I’m pleased to have found that opportunity this week and will be making more effort to find other chances to listen in the coming week.
The Step Up Challenge
How many of you took part in the Step Up Challenge on Thursday this week? There have been lots of people “climbing mountains” on their back door step over the last couple weeks, it’s been fun to watch people take the idea (which I think was started by Rory Southworth) and really go for it – Rory even lead an “expedition” to Everest Base Camp last week with a number of other people, brilliant! This all culminated in a super fun challenge instigated by Ordnance Survey and supported by a number of other outdoors organisations and companies, encouraging people from all over the land to “step up” on Thursday lunchtime to see how far we could collectively climb in one hour. It was a bit of fun that I was very happy to support, and I ran up and down my stairs nearly 100 times to add my numbers into the pot. Numbers which, unbelievably, ended up in seven figures in that one hour session. How ridiculous! Lock down may have changed the way we spend time outdoors, but this just shows that together we can achieve amazing things from home.
There was another element to the fun challenge which was to attempt to set a new Guinness World Record, which involved those taking part in the Step Up Challenge uploading a video to instagram of their efforts within the one hour window. I’ve embedded my video contribution below, and if we manage to do it (we won’t know for ages), I will happily tick off “world record” from my bucket list, something I didn’t really expect to do ever, especially not in lock down.
You can find out more about the Step Up Challenge, the World Record attempt, and plenty of other Get Outside Inside inspiration, over at GetOutside.uk.
This Week’s Question
I mentioned that I’ve spent a bit of time in the garden and that I’ve ordered some plants to be delivered in the next couple of weeks – actually some lavender and geranium to add some more colour and fragrance to the beds. With that in mind, this week’s question for you to answer in the comments below is…
What is your favourite flower?
I wonder if you are daffodil and tulip lovers, or if you prefer daisies, or maybe there is a specific rose that makes you happy? I’d love to know – maybe I can have a reader’s flower bed in my garden by the end of this lock down period?!
Thanks for coming over to Splodz Blogz to read my weekly blog. If you enjoyed reading this blog, if you think my weekly blog series is a good idea, and especially if you got to the end of this episode, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. And I mustn’t forget the vloggers’ catchphrase, seeing as I stole the “weekly” premise of this post from them – please like and subscribe for more posts like this in the future! Come on by next Sunday at 6pm (ish!!!) for the next in the series.