Hello there! Welcome to episode 85 in my weekly blog series, a little journal of my life. How are you? What’s been going on in your world this last week or so?
Over in my world, and as always, work has been super busy. Although I did manage to get my inbox down to just two emails on Thursday afternoon thanks to some unexpected desk time. That felt rather good. I’m choosing to ignore the fact it was spilling over again by lunchtime on Friday, and just be pleased I got things organised. I even managed to tick off a couple of things off my guilt list!
In the interests of making something of the September sunshine (oh how I’ve loved the weather this week!), I commuted on foot a couple of times this week. It’s about an hour each way so a significant chunk of time, but it’s definitely worth the effort when the time and weather allows it. I’m back in the office a couple of days a week now, and I quite like that my employer is allowing the continued flexibility of working from home when it works for me and the business.
After Comms Unplugged (read Weekly Blog Episode 84) I’ve been making a conscious effort to put some best practice into, well, practice. While such things don’t reduce the workload or make tasks easier to complete, they are very useful in working out how to react to said workload management. I hope I can make them stick, at least for a few weeks.
At home there have been the usual chores, admin, and attempting to both eat well and relax properly. I’ve been somewhat successful at all that this week, not wholly, but I can live with that.
We also celebrated our nineteenth wedding anniversary. In all honesty that feels like both a very long time and no time at all – it probably just means we’re getting on a bit now. Nineteen years doesn’t have a traditionally designated gift, not that we’ve ever paid attention to those, so we went out to celebrate with a burger and an ice cream. I mean, we might have liked to spend a week in New York or somewhere else, but burger night did the job perfectly well for us this year.
Oh, and my husband baked a most excellent batch of white chocolate chip cookies last weekend, and what I can only describe as the fudgiest brownies I’ve ever eaten this weekend. The latter of which we should most definitely have cut into smaller pieces. Oops.
Checking the Banshee
With less than two weeks to go until Jenni and I start our UK Coast to Coast hiking adventure, it’s all systems go to get everything ready. We managed to finalise all our overnight stops (no thanks to one of them cancelling on us this week), mostly camping, with a couple of B&Bs thrown in for comfort, and are in the process of getting the baggage transfer organised.
This week I spent some time organising and checking all my gear, to make sure I have all the things I think I need, and, potentially more importantly, to make sure it all fits in my pack. My old duffel bag has come out of storage to hold my overnight paraphernalia. It’s a good size, I trust the bag, and it’s just about big enough to carry my tent, sleeping gear, clothing, food, and a couple of luxury items. Did you want a packing list? I can write one if so – let me know.
A Great Little Tent
Seeing as I haven’t camped in my Vango Banshee for a while, I got that put up in the garden just to make sure I could remember how to put it up, and that I had enough straight-enough pegs, and everything else seemed in order. Never a bad thing to check your shelter over before you want to rely on it for a two-week trip. I didn’t sleep out in it, but it was good to check it all over.
It reminded me what a great little tent it is. I’ve been looking around thinking about upgrading it to a lighter tent, maybe a freestanding one. But in all honesty, the value vs weight ratio is still the best I can find. And given that this time I don’t have to carry it myself, the weight doesn’t really matter anyway. I just home I’m still saying that at the end of the hike… I’ll be sure to let you know on that one!
While I was at it, I replaced the zip-pull things (technical term) on the inner of my Robins Green Cone, as over the last couple of years they’ve all come undone, and despite me retying them over and over again, they just keep falling off. Cue some paracord, some knots, and a lighter, and I’ve got new pulls sorted. Hopefully now I will be much more successful getting in and out of my tent next time I use it.
Back to the Coast to Coast. My test pack went well, I’ve ordered the last bits I need, printed off the route maps and updated my OS Maps app installation on my phone, stocked up on Percy Pigs (of course), and am very excited indeed to get hiking. Yes, I’m worried about my fitness. Yes, I’m worried about the weather ruining our fun. But I’m mostly very much looking forward to this trail. Two weeks of hiking, views, chats, food, and a big bucket list tick. I hope it goes okay!
If you’ve walked the UK Coast to Coast from St Bee’s to Robin Hood’s Bay, and have written articles or made videos of your experience, please do share the links with me – or just tell me the best and worst bits of your hike in the comments below…
Great British Bake Off
It’s back! Are you a Bake Off fan? I think I probably have to say that I am. It’s become one of those random annual shows that I always end up watching. I don’t know, I just find it really entertaining. It’s mostly because I really enjoy eating good baking – I’m no baker myself, but I’m pretty good at pointing out when people on the tellybox get it a bit wrong.
I particularly liked the inclusion of malt loaf in week one… a most excellent hiking snack. Yes, I’m over 35, so I’m in the age bracket the judges think will have heard of this tasty treat, but surely younger people have eaten malt loaf and butter for supper?! Yea okay, maybe I am old now.
Although I have to admit I’m still completely lost as to why the show opened with a cover of country music classic Achy Breaky Heart, complete with Bake Off appropriate lyrics and featuring the presenters and judges. Anyone else care to explain it to me?!
Just like Maleficent, Cruella is a reimagined Disney story from the point of view of a baddie. I’ve only just gotten around to watching it this weekend and I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The film is all about the rebellious early days of one of Disney’s most notorious villains, Cruella de Vil, of 101 Dalmations fame. Set during the 1970s punk rock revolution in London (complete with suitable soundtrack), the story follows Estella, who is determined to become a successful designer. Estella’s flair for fashion catches the eye of “The Baroness”, a chic and rather terrifying fashion legend, which leads to all kinds of chaos.
Emma Stone and Emma Thompson are both brilliant in this, the costumes are fabulous (darling…), and the fight between the two lead characters is most entertaining. I mean, Cruella de Vil probably didn’t need an origin story, but I liked it.
Oh, and I absolutely loved the post-credit sequence’s nod to the original, nicely done Disney, very nicely done.
Nan Shepherd, The Living Mountain
I listened to Nan Shepherd’s The Living Mountain in just one day this week, thanks to a walking commute and the kitchen time taken to make mushroom soup. Describing her journeys in the Caingorm mountains in Scotland, this is a wonderful piece of nature writing that really got me excited to go on my own hiking adventure next month.
Written many years before it was published, it’s written in a very poetic style, and talks of the hills, plateaus, rivers, creatures and hidden gems of the landscape. It’s a meditation on nature, and certainly encouraged me to pay close attention to the world around me as I wander.
It’s a short listen (5 hours on normal speed), well worth the download.
As always, I would really love to hear from you in the comments below. What have been the highlights of your week? 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!
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