Well hello there! I’m back! How was October in your world? It’s been quite the month here… I’ve got some catching up to do! So how about a rambling weekly blog? Let’s start with the big thing that took over my life for the longest time… that hike across the country.
It Was a Very Long Walk
You’ll be pleased to know that after talking about walking the UK Coast to Coast for several years, I have finally ticked that one off my bucket list! I spent the middle two weeks in October hiking something over 200 miles from the Irish Sea at St Bees in the West of England, over to the North Sea at Robin Hood’s Bay in the East of England.
It was quite the experience. Two weeks on and I still haven’t quite been able to put it all in order in my mind yet. I mean, it was a massive challenge, maybe even more so than I thought it might be, both physically and mentally. But it was also thoroughly enjoyable, and an achievement I am certainly proud of.
There was something really magical about being out in nature for a full two weeks, and with hiking each day being the only thing on my to do list. The weather was kind, the views were stunning, and the food was hearty. Oh, and you’ll be pleased to know that the pebble I picked up from the beach at St Bees safely made it across to Robin Hood’s Bay…
I took well over 1,000 photos on my phone, and wrote a journal each night, so there will definitely be more to come on this story.
I still haven’t written about Iceland so it might take me a bit of time to write the three or four blog posts I have in mind about the hike. Yea I know, not doing so well at this blogging thing these days, despite it being one of my favourite ways to spend my leisure time. I don’t know, I think my brain is just so full of words it’s hard to find time to put them in any kind of grammatically correct order.
In the meantime, I’m sharing specific memories over on my Instagram feed, so do give me a follow over there if you haven’t already. And if you want to look back over the snaps I shared during the hike, I’ve saved two Stories Highlights which you can find via my Instagram profile.
If you have any questions about hiking the UK Coast to Coast, or long-distance hiking in the UK in general, I’d be happy to answer them. Maybe it could be a themed Splodz Blogz Q&A in the coming weeks. Bung your questions in the comments below, or ask me over on twitter or Instagram, and I’ll give them some thought.
Washing Machine Drama
While I did absolutely love being out in the wilds of England for two weeks, I was very happy to come home. There is something wonderful about that; even if it did involve a very long (and much busier than anticipated) train journey!
Naturally, seeing my husband after two weeks away was a highlight, as was sleeping in a proper bed with clean cotton sheets, and having a soak in a particularly bubbly bath. I also appreciated the little things that being at home means… fresh glass bottle milk, my cosy tent mule slippers, and my electric toothbrush.
But coming home also meant the chores catch-up had to begin, because apparently the cleaning and washing doesn’t magically get done between finishing an adventure and walking through the front door. Everything needed washing – my tent, sleeping bag, clothes, all of it.
Washing everything would have been absolutely no bother if my washing machine didn’t disagree with something and break. Gah! What a pain. It was midway through washing and reproofing my jacket; the motor went leaving me with a drum full of soapy water and a horrible electrical burning smell in my kitchen. Why do these things happen at the most annoying times?
I’m pleased to report that a few days later I was able to get a replacement motor fitted, and have now just about caught up on the washing. As for the other chores… well they can wait.
Bao + BBQ, New Restaurant in Cheltenham
A new restaurant opened up in Cheltenham recently (well, a few months ago) that we had to try – Bao + BBQ say their food is “fiery Texan barbecue meets Taiwanese cuisine”. Think bao buns with barbecue fillings, and wings and fries with spicy flavours. It’s a pretty unique menu as far as I can tell, and looked right up our street.
The idea is that you order a selection of dishes to share, and we heeded the advice of our server who gave us some pointers. We ordered the Bang Bang Cauliflower, Bao with Pulled Pork, Crispy Duck, Brisket and Cornflake Chicken, Pork Ribs, and Korean Fries. It was all absolutely delicious. I’ll admit that splitting bao to share between two is more than a little bit messy, but we both wanted to try everything and it worked out okay!
The cauliflower was my favourite dish, the bao were all so tasty, and the chips had a good kick to them. The bao themselves were light and the fillings very tasty. While we could have eaten another dish or two (I’d add the Katsu Arancini next time), what we ordered was plenty of food, we left feeling very satisfied.
We spent a little more than we might normally on a midweek meal out (£45 or there abouts for the above dishes and a couple of soft drinks), but it was not overpriced and won’t put us off going again. A really nice place to eat in Cheltenham if you’re looking for somewhere in the area; it’s very nice to have unique restaurants like this on our doorstep.
One Hour Outside
It would be terribly remiss of me to write a blog this week and not mention One Hour Outside, although I’m sure if you follow me on social media you’re already all over this. November is the month each year I dedicate to my little campaign, first and foremost to make sure I don’t end up wallowing in the darkness and spend all my time indoors, and second to encourage you to join me.
The idea, as you know, is that we all spend a little bit of time outside every day for the 30 days of November. An hour is the goal, but science has proven that even just 15 minutes outside each day can make a significant difference to our mental and physical wellbeing.
I wrote this blog post all about it, and you can find daily reminders and encouragement from me and others taking part over on twitter and Instagram. It’s not too late to join in – I hope those of you taking on the challenge find it helps with body, mind and soul this month. Please do tag me and #OneHourOutside in your social posts, I really do love to hear where and how you spend your time outside each day.
That’s Entertainment | The Weirdstone of Brisingamen
A week or two ago my friend Sarah was popping out to the library to pick up her reserved book and happened to mention it to me. The book? Alan Garner’s The Weirdstone of Bringisamen. Her mentioning it instantly brought back memories from deep within my childhood memory, and I immediately downloaded it to listen on my lunchtime walks.
I was taken right back to a camping holiday, probably in the late 1980s, when this was our family storybook of choice. Each evening my Dad would read us a chapter or two before bed. It was like I was sat there in my camping chair in the living space of our canvas tent, lit by gas lamp (that smell!).
I even remembered the plot, more or less. I knew it was based at Alderley Edge, and even knew the main two characters were Colin and Susan. It’s weird – a few minutes before that tweet I had no idea that knowledge was still in my head. Aren’t our minds strange things?!
It only took me three or four days to listen to it, and I thoroughly enjoyed doing so. It’s a children’s book, but that doesn’t matter to me – it’s a great easy to listen to fantasy story, and includes some wonderful descriptions of Alderley Edge and the surrounding area.
Maybe those story books I listened to before bed on family camping trips are the reason I like audiobooks now? I much prefer listening than reading.
If you’ve not had the pleasure of trying audiobooks yet, you can get a 30-day free trial at Audible (affiliate link). Maybe start with this book?
I’ll leave my weekly blog ramblings there for this week I think. I’m intending to jump straight back into posting these weekly (the clue is in the name…), so I’ll be back next week for more. Maybe the words in my head will have sorted themselves out a bit more by then and I can share some more hiking stories, too.
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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