In Episode 90 I promised you another weekly blog in quick succession, and here we are… in this post I will continue catching you up on the last month here in Splodz-land.
In particular, I want to share something about a recent visit to my doctor, a great evening spent at Cotswold Farm Park, and a couple of books I’ve been reading.
What have the last few days looked like for you? Did you get snow? And if you did, were you able to get out and play? I know that for many the storm brought unsafe conditions and power cuts, which really sucks – I hope you all kept safe.
We enjoyed a slightly snowy weekend here, although it was really just a sprinkling on the hills rather than anything more disruptive. You know from previous weekly blog episodes (such as this one) that I love the snow – it was wonderful! Storm Arwen hit but our winds were half those up in the north, so again, no disruption other than some relocated bins and a handful of broken branches.
We spent the weekend with my mother-in-law, doing a bit of shopping and eating out, which was rather lovely. In two days we ate at the Monk’s Kitchen at Gloucester Cathedral, the Gloucester Old Spot, Boston Tea Party, and our local fish and chip shop. I would say “oops” to that but it was entirely on purpose. It’s been a super busy couple of weeks at work, and it was nice to switch off.
Actually, I just noticed that it was exactly this week last year that we visited both the Gloucester Old Spot and Cotswold Farm Park – read Weekly Blog Episode 48… does that make it an annual tradition?!
Fortified with Vitamins and Iron
Over the last few months, I’ve commented regularly in my weekly blog about how tired I am. In the main they’ve been throwaway comments, trying to excuse my tardy blogging, or explain the lack of weekend adventures. But the tiredness, the lack of energy, has been totally real.
Like everyone else, I honestly thought that the tiredness I was feeling was due to the usual stuff… being busy at work and home, not sitting still much, and not wanting to miss out on adventures in-between the day job and other commitments. You know, what most consider normal life.
But it turns out there has been something going on behind the scenes that I did not realise. And that something meant I was never going to get over my tiredness without some intervention.
I now know I have been dealing with rock bottom levels of iron and B12 for some time. My GP did some blood tests following a conversation we had about something else, and made the discovery. These missing ingredients explain quite a lot of things I’ve felt over the last little while, and have been causing symptoms and discomfort not limited to wanting to be in bed by 9pm or struggling with any kind of cardio exercise.
Did you know, for example, that apart from being associated with energy (or the lack of it), B12 is involved in the prevention of osteoporosis and is important for eye health? Or that it plays a vital role in synthesising and metabolising serotonin, a chemical responsible for regulating mood? Or that it is associated with memory? Or that it helps maintain healthy skin, hair and nails? It’s quite the vitamin! I knew some of this as I have a good friend who suffers with low B12 levels, but I didn’t consider at any point that it would be something I was also living with.
The GP reckons this has been the case for me for quite some time, at least several months, maybe even a couple of years. It was certainly the case for the Coast to Coast hike, and for Iceland, and probably for most of the pandemic. I honestly, genuinely, thought I was just overtired, unfit and heavy-legged… well I am, but you know what I mean. I also thought that I just wasn’t coping very well with the uncertainty and ever-changing restrictions of the pandemic.
My GP seems surprised that I’ve been able to do all the things I have in recent months with such low levels. I don’t know if I’m proud of being able to hike over 200 miles across the country with all this going on, or if I’m more frustrated at myself that I didn’t realise my body was missing some vital ingredients (or ignored the signs). Either way, I’m ready for my energy to return!
I’ve been reading a lot about these two important puzzle-pieces in the last week or two, and it’s an absolute revelation. I’ve got a bunch of tablets to take to help with the iron, and will be getting a series of injections over the next couple of weeks (oh the joy!) to sort out the B12. The first one is on Friday and I’m a little apprehensive, but also happy that this treatment is so easy to access. I’m very much hoping that adding the missing elements back into my body will work quickly to balance me back out again. Miracle cure? Yes please!!
We’re not yet sure what’s caused the low levels, whether it’s a sign that something else is going on inside, that’s the next investigation. But in the meantime, I’m very hopeful that a short sharp course of pills and jabs will have some of what I started to consider as “the old Zoe” return. I’m very much looking forward to that.
I guess I’d better start a spinach farm. Are coco pops fortified with vitamins and iron?!
Enchanted Light Trail
One of the things I like about my One Hour Outside challenge being in November, is that towards the end of the month I can use it as an excuse to go out and enjoy some festive activities. Sadly, I missed the opening of Cheltenham Ice Rink thanks to work, but I was able to make use of my invitation to the preview nights of this year’s Cotswold Farm Park Enchanted Light Trail.
I wrote about last year’s trail back in Weekly Blog Episode 48, having received an invitation thanks to being an Ordnance Survey GetOutside Champion. We really enjoyed it last year and was pleased to see the team do it again this year.
The farm, especially the woodland, looks so pretty with all the lights. There are definitely more than last year… brightly coloured and traditional displays, with an animal theme. Whereas last year we followed the trail of a rabbit, this year the story is centred around one of Adam Henson’s dogs. There are story boards all along the trail to help you follow the displays.
As this is a working rare breeds farm, naturally there has to be some interaction with the animals. The two animal barns are part of the trail, with opportunities to stroke the bunnies, see some cute piglets, meet some larger rare breeds, and feed the goats. Are goats ever full?!
You can also toast marshmallows on open fires, it’s £2 for a s’mores kit featuring a humongous marshmallow and a couple of chocolate digestive biscuits, and treat yourself to some festive themed street food – there’s a covered area to eat with picnic benches.
It really was a rather excellent way to spend One Hour Outside, and I’d recommend it to anyone – especially families – looking for a fun evening activity in the Cotswolds during December. You’ll need to book ahead on the Cotswold Farm Park website, and don’t forget to wrap up warm and wear something grippy on your feet.
Oh, and if anyone fancies ice skating at Cheltenham’s impressive looking rink one evening in the next week or two, give me a shout, I don’t want to go on my own!
I also fancy returning to Sudeley Castle’s Spectacle of Light (I visited the Alice in Wonderland themed one previously), as I’ve heard very good things about it again this year, but when I looked at the weekend it was pretty much sold out for when we could go. I must keep a better eye open for that one next year.
Have you been to light trails already this year? Got one booked for nearer Christmas? Any others you think I should try and checkout?
In this weekly blog I want to share a couple of books I’ve been reading recently. Actual books, you know, physical paperbacks I have to sit and hold rather than plug into my ears.
Wanderers: A History of Women Walking, Kerri Andrews
I received a copy of Wanderers: A History of Women Walking from a friend and colleague for my birthday, and it’s a really lovely and very appropriate read. It features ten women who have found walking essential to their sense of themselves – just like me.
Taking a look at 300-years of walking history through women such as Elizabeth Carter, Dorothy Wordsworth, Nan Shepherd and Cheryl Strayed. The chapters explore these women’s lives and talk about how each was (is) happy to be outside and moving forward. I’ve not quite finished all the stories yet, but already feel inspired and encouraged that walking really is the medicine I believe it to be.
This would make a great gift for anyone you know loves walking, a most excellent Secret Santa or Jolabokaflod book if you are looking for such a thing.
Adventure Revolution: The Life-Changing Power of Choosing Challenge, Belinda Kirk
Belinda is a fellow GetOutside Champion and quite an amazing professional adventurer. Her new book Adventure Revolution speaks about the power of adventure and what impact it can have on everyday life. She sent me a copy to read, which I’m very grateful for.
Built on the premise that adventure is essential to our wellbeing, Belinda draws on lessons from years of experience leading expeditions in the wilderness. She speaks about how adventure helps with managing anxiety and overcoming fear, finding self-worth, building interpersonal connections, and being happier, healthier, and more playful. And she talks a lot of sense. This lady knows what she’s talking about!
Belinda ends the book (no real spoilers here) by saying:
“My one hope is that once you’ve finished reading this book, you will put it down and go on an adventure – no matter how big or small – something you otherwise might not have done.”Belinda Kirk, Adventure Revolution
I have to admit, this book has definitely made me want to ditch normal life in favour of adventure even more than I wanted to already, so maybe it’s not a book to buy your colleagues…
I think that brings us up to the present day. I hope you continue to enjoy my weekly blogs, but I also hope there will be some other blog posts here soon, including some featuring Iceland and my Coast to Coast hike. But in the meantime I’ll keep sharing the everyday stuff with you.
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