Good evening and welcome to another weekly blog… How has your week been? Have you been enjoying the sunshine? What has been the highlight of your week? Something big or small, I hope there have been many happy moments and plenty of smiles for you and yours in the last seven days. Before you read on, why not head down to the comments section and let me know? I’d love to hear from you.
I think my favourite feature of this week has been how lovely the weather has been. Spring has really shown its proper face; blue skies, cold mornings and warm afternoons. It’s been great for my mood, great for the garden, and great for getting the washing dried outside. I even got my summer tyres put back on the car this week, it was (finally) time for the winter boots to go back away in the garage until things go downhill again.
As always, my weekly blog is designed as a diary entry about my life and what I get up to between the all-important day job and bigger adventures. In this episode I am sharing about a beautiful peaceful walk on the Cotswold Way, a sad goodbye to a family member, a lovely lunch at a local café, and a couple of gifts I received in the mail.
Dover’s Hill and Broadway Tower
My long weekend should have been a trip away camping with friends, with hiking, campfires, and having fun outdoors. Of course, things weren’t quite open enough for that, and so instead I spent the time doing a few solo hikes not too far from home. I chatted about the first three hikes in Episode 66 of my Weekly Blog series; and on Monday I did my fourth and final hike of the long weekend.
I really want to hike the whole of the Cotswold Way from Chipping Campden down to Bath, but the camping logistics are proving far too complicated, and I’m not really in a position to be spendy on Bed and Breakfast accommodation in the Cotswolds. At some point I hope to hike it either in one go or over a series of weekend hikes, but in the meantime I’m using it as a way to find shorter day hikes with interest.
Monday was one such hike. I started at Dover’s Hill and walked through the countryside to Broadway, where I picked up the Cotswold Way to take me up to Chipping Campden and back to the car. The 10-ish mile hike included the climb from Broadway to Broadway Tower, which is quite the mile… I really am going to need to get fitter if I’m going to enjoy the Coast-to-Coast long-distance hike later in the year. Thankfully there was a strategically placed bench after the steepest part, for which I was very grateful indeed!
Broadway Tower is the second highest point in the Cotswolds (the highest is on Cleeve Hill), rising 312 metres above sea level. The park and tower were designed by the famous landscape designer Capability Brown, build in this location thanks to the dramatic outlook, and that was on a pre-medieval trading route.
It was a very lovely loop indeed; views, farmland, villages, and more views. As with the walks I mentioned last week I’ll get this one plotted and reviewed here on Splodz Blogz soon so you can walk it too when you’re in the area.
Losing a loved one is hard any time, but the difficulty of grief is certainly exacerbated by the pandemic at the moment. On Tuesday we said goodbye to a family member, and while restrictions were such that the family could at least gather at the chapel for a short funeral service, it wasn’t exactly the kind of send off that was befitting the situation.
The funeral service was in Southend, which meant driving from Gloucestershire; it’s a long way from one side of the country to the other. Thankfully for us, hotel stays are permitted when attending funeral services, meaning we didn’t have to do all the driving in one day. We arrived with time to wander along the seafront and have a chippie tea at sunset, which felt very appropriate.
The whole family has promised that we’ll get together for a belated wake when allowed to do so, including doing some of our family member’s favourite things, and just spending time together catching up and telling stories. Saying goodbye is never easy, whatever the circumstances.
First Café Lunch of the Year
I don’t know about you, but while I’m more than happy to do my part to help stop the spread of covid, I am also very happy that restrictions are starting to ease just a little bit here in England. We’re now allowed to sit outside to eat and drink at cafes and pubs, and I am definitely here for that. We had a wander in town on Saturday and, given the sunshine, used it as an excuse to have our first proper café lunch of the year, an hour very well spent indeed.
The outdoor seating at Huffkins Bakery on the Promenade was all in the shade, so instead we headed over to Boston Tea Party to sit in the sun. In midsummer that shady area will be very much needed, but in mid-April we wanted the sunshine. We were impressed with Boston Tea Party as always; you order and pay on their website, everything is prepared fresh and brought to your outside table, and the staff were super friendly and attentive.
I ordered the Super Salad, which was delicious, followed by my go-to Boston Tea Party snack, the blackcurrant filled yoghurt topped flapjack, so good. I made my own version at home during last year’s lockdown, and while it was a pretty close match, I do much prefer it when someone else makes it! I don’t know, I just enjoy going out for lunch.
Have you been sunning yourself in a café courtyard or pub garden this last week or two?
In the Mail
I had a couple of very nice deliveries this week that I want to share with you, including some new shoes from my friends at Isobaa, and some snacks from a new-to-me company called Wellbox.
Isobaa Merino Blend Trainers
You’ll have read me talking about Isobaa before, as I’ve come to really love their merino base layers for hiking and motorcycling (read my Motorcycle Road Trip Packing List and my Currently Loving March 2021 posts for more), and find their everyday socks perfect for, well, everyday wear. They were kind enough to send me a pair of their brand-new Merino blend trainers to try out, and they arrived this week.
These classic looking trainers have serious eco credentials. They are made from predominantly recycled and natural materials, including Merino wool, recycled polyester, BLOOM foam made from algae, and recycled rubber.
I’ve been wearing them a bit this week, and they are very light and comfortable, they’ll be ideal for travel, especially in the warm weather. There will be a full review on here when I’ve worn them a bit more, but I wanted to mention them in this weekly blog because I’m already sold on the fit and style.
Wellbox Sustain Snack Hamper
Wellbox are a gift box service offering personalised gift boxes designed to help send love and kindness in the post. Did you know that one in three of us struggle with loneliness, depression and anxiety while working from home? The feeling of isolation is huge, and so doing something to help others feel loved is even more important than ever.
I received the Sustain box this week, as Wellbox wanted to send me something to keep my belly happy and my energy levels up as I get out hiking. The box included 22 different snacks, including bars and bags of sweet and savoury treats made with natural ingredients and predominantly sourced from independent companies.
When Wellbox messaged about this collaboration I honestly didn’t really consider what 22 snacks would look like when they arrived in a box – it’s quite the haul! I have nuts, seeds, olives, chocolate, dried fruit, fruit leathers, trail bars, flapjack, corn, and more. My intention is to keep hold of the snacks until I do the second half of the Winchcombe Way (read Weekly Blog Episode 66), but as that won’t be for at least a couple of weeks I don’t think I’ll be able to hide them from myself for that long!
There are lots of different types of box available for you to send to friends, family, or even all your colleagues (they offer discounts on multiple boxes). It’s not just about food, there are tea boxes, mindfulness boxes, and relaxation boxes. And for every box sold they make a donation to charity, either for a meal to a local homeless shelter, or to MIND, depending on the box purchased. A great place to look if you want to send something nice to a loved one.
As always, I would really love to hear from you in the comments below. Let me know what your favourite thing about the last seven days has been, and don’t forget to get your One Hour Outside today… whatever day you happen to be reading this on!
Buy Me a Cuppa?
If you fancy supporting me and my mini adventures, you can “buy me a coffee” (or a tea, naturally). If you enjoyed this post and would like to support what I’m doing, head over to Ko-fi to find out more. Thank you.