Splodz Blogz | The Weekly Blog Episode 56

I decided that it was time I did another Q&A for my weekly blog, answering some of your questions. To help me with Episode 56, I asked for your input over on my Instagram stories, and had three really great questions in response, which I’ve really enjoyed answering. Without any further pre-amble, I’ll dive straight in…

Would you do another long-distance trail and which one?

Oh yes! Yes, yes and definitely yes. Can I go tomorrow?! I am honestly desperate to get out on the trail again, and out on another big road trip, but you know, there’s a pandemic and all that. And work, but mostly a pandemic!

I’ve not done many multi-day hikes, but I know I love them. The Lyke Wake Walk was my first (I made a video on that one if you want a giggle), then came the West Highland Way, which I will never stop recommending to anyone who fancies hiking for a week, I walked around the perimeter of Cheltenham over two days (I wrote about this hike for Thryve), and most recently headed to north Wales to do the Brenig Way. There is just something special about exploring on foot, and while I absolutely love half-day and day hikes, there is a rather wonderful feeling you get walking for several days in a row.

I’ve always dreamed of doing Wainwright’s Coast to Coast hike here in England, from St Bee’s on the west to Robin Hood’s Bay on the east, and taking in three National Parks along the way (the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales, and the North York Moors). As a lover of both sea and countryside, there is something about dipping my toes in the sea on the west and walking myself all the way to dip my toes in the sea on the east that draws me in. It would certainly be my biggest walking adventure to date.

We (that’s me and Jenni, who I love to walk with), are making plans to do our C2C hike later this year. We should have done it last year, but it just wasn’t possible for us. And by making plans, I mean we’ve been studying the guidebook, set our intended daily mileage, and have started reserving places to stay. We are fully aware that it may still not be possible in 2021, we may have to postpone again, but we decided we need the anticipation of adventure in our lives to help us along at the moment, and so are taking that risk. Thankfully, most places are offering Covid-related cancellation policies at the moment.

As for how we’re doing it, we’ll certainly be camping most nights, or that is the intention, and we’ve earmarked at least two B&Bs for our longest days and also to help break things up a bit. We’re yet to firmly decide on baggage transfer versus carrying our own kit; there are competing pros and cons for both sides, and while we know we could carry our own gear, we think we might just want that little bit of extra comfort this time around. Either way, I’ll be sure to blog about the hows, whys and whats nearer the time.

The Coast to Coast is the biggest long-distance trail I’m planning at the moment, but I also hope that restrictions will allow me to do a couple of smaller multi-day hikes this year. The Great Stones Way went on my list when I visited Avebury to walk with good friend Kate last summer (read Weekly Blog Episode 34), and the Cotswold Way has been on my list since I moved to Gloucestershire and discovered just how close the path gets to my front door. The former will likely be a solo long weekend, the latter probably a section hike as camping is seemingly impossible and B&Bs in the Cotswolds are very much outside this hiker’s price range!!

What do you think, will I get the Coast to Coast, Great Stones Way and the Cotswold Way done in 2021? And then what next?!

In the last year of weirdness, what did you enjoy/discover that you’ll take back to the “normal” world?

Oh this is a very good question. And one that I have been thinking about recently. Because you know, the stuff we’ve gone through over the last year has to have some kind of personal benefit, don’t you think?

That’s not to say we should all have been learning four languages and smashing our fitness goals (please read my post about toxic positivity, it’s a really important one), but rather that we will have automatically found rhythm and solace in one thing or another that we should make sure we hold onto to as things return to pre-covid normal.

I actually think I’ve made some good personal strides over the last 12 months. And there are things that come immediately to mind when I think about this question, which can only be a good thing.

The first is that I like working from home the majority of the time. Yes, hours spent in online Teams meetings is exhausting, and sometimes it would be a lot easier to have particular people or equipment on hand to do my job more successfully. But in general, I like that I am based in my own home, with my bright orange wall and chair, my own music playing, the opportunity to make a proper lunch from my own fridge, and the ability to just get on in my own little world.

I am productive in my home office, and in general my work is no more difficult (or less successful) because I’m not going into the office every day. And, as an additional benefit, I can get those niggly chores, such as loading and unloading the washing machine that would otherwise have to wait until the weekend, done in between online meetings and project work. Everyone wins.

The second is that I prefer to exercise in the morning. After a cup of tea, but before starting work for the day. Okay, so I don’t particularly enjoy exercising at all (apart from walking), and I have generally tried to squeeze it in after work and before dinner. Which is fine enough, it does the job, most of the time.

But over the last few weeks, after writing about reclaiming my pre-work time for me (read Weekly Blog Episode 52), I chose to shift my short week-day exercise into that before-work slot. And it’s so much more doable! I can do a 20-minute workout, normally courtesy of Joe Wickes or some other YouTuber, at 7.30am and get so much more from it than I ever did at 6pm. I’m left more awake, with more energy, and ready for the day. Much better.

Of course, if I can’t keep the working from home bit as things move back into a pre-Covid state, then the weekday exercise routine may have to move back to the evenings again. But I do hope both of these things can stick, at least some of the time.  

How about you? What habits have you started, or things have you learnt, that you will do your best not to forget as we exit this period of pandemic related restriction?

What is your favourite rainy days board game or family game?

I admit I’m not very good stuck indoors on rainy days. Or any time, really. I would very much rather be out and about, hiking, exploring, road tripping, anything. But while I know lots of people say “there’s no such thing as bad weather”, there is limited enjoyment in being soaked through to your knickers thanks to wet and windy weather.

I don’t really play many games, though. I guess the problem is that most board games aren’t much fun with two, you’re limited to Scrabble (which I do enjoy…), card games, or backgammon/draughts.

I always enjoyed Cranium with family or friends, especially the playdough modelling round. And Telestrations is a really great and easy-to-play family game. I should also give a shout out to Sandwich Masters, a fun card game which is the brainchild of a colleague. And I have really fond memories of playing Monopoly (in various languages) with the family growing up.

But in all honesty, a rainy day for me is an opportunity to plan future adventures, write blog posts, or put my feet up and watch Disney. I’m much better these days at using rotten weather to purposefully relax and unwind, which has to be a good thing.

Do you have a favourite family game that always helps you stop staring out of the window on a particularly wet day?

There we have it. I hope you’ve enjoyed my little Q&A this evening, three excellent questions there, I hope you think I did them justice. Normal weekly blog service will resume next Sunday evening. See you next Sunday!

My weekly blog header photo this episode is one of the snaps I’ve taken for #SplodzDPC this month… read this post to find out more and join in.

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