Tuesday 22 February 2022

That Went Quickly


My week didn't exactly start off in the way I had hoped. Disappointingly, a problem with my household electrics meant I had to cancel our long awaited day out in Edinburgh. And it wasn't anything to do with the bad weather. On Sunday evening something tripped the fuse box and although initially I was able to switch everything back on, the same thing happened again just an hour later, leaving all downstairs sockets without power, meaning no heating, hot water, oven or fridge freezer. And so, instead of enjoying some time in my favourite city, I needed to stay home in order to get everything sorted. Never mind, it has all been dealt with now and I'm sure we will get back to Edinburgh at some time this year. 

And, as for the weather, I hope no one has been too badly affected by the storms. It has certainly been a rough week for many. Unusually, the first two storms passed by here with little cause for alarm. But on Sunday evening the strong winds caused me to have a restless night and yesterday I spent much of my walk to work navigating broken twigs and branches, and keeping a very close eye on the trees.

As well as the usual household chores, I have had the time to get on with some little jobs which I've been putting off for what seems like ages now, and it feels good to finally have them ticked off my list. I've started crocheting a blanket for my friend's baby due in the summer, and even though the wet weather has kept us indoors for much of the time, I have taken the opportunity to plan many walks for when it does eventually pick up again. 

Early in the week, we took our chances with a break in the weather, to get out for a short walk. It is lovely to see the snowdrops in flower, and I even glimpsed some tiny shoots of wild garlic under the trees - one of my favourite signs that spring is on it's way. 

The wet and muddy pathways mean that wellies are necessary footwear just now and they were even more essential for our visit later in the week.

We went to the farm to see the new lambs. Unfortunately, there weren't any being born while we were there but we did get to bottle feed these five, and I believe there have been many more new arrivals since then.

It was such a lovely morning and I could have happily stayed put in the lamb pen for the rest of the day.

In other slightly less exciting news, Now that it has been painted, we have hung the bird box, which Lily and I put together a few weeks ago. We just need to keep a close eye out for any new residents. 

And I baked cupcakes! (Instead of my usual tray-bakes). I needed something to use up the Baileys chocolate icing from the freezer.

I am beginning to feel much more rested, and this week served as reminder that I really do need to take things easier at times. It has been wonderful to feel much more mindful and a little less hurried, and I'm sure I have even been sleeping slightly better as a result. Now I just need to keep it up.

J. X

Sunday 13 February 2022

Back to Basics


Just lately I have become very aware that these last few months have taken their toll on my mental and physical wellbeing, even more than I realised. Between working, running the home and studying I have found myself getting quite overwhelmed at times. In hindsight, I probably shouldn't have taken on quite so much at this present time. It doesn't help that at this time of year my body often feels exhausted just from holding itself tense with cold. These grey, wet days leave much to be desired and I cant wait to enjoy getting up on the fells again. Add my long term sleeping problems into the mix and it could definitely turn into a downward spiral.

I am also very aware that in these situations there can be no quick fix or waving of a magic wand to restore some equilibrium. So I'm going back to basics. Eating well, exercising more and hopefully my sleep patterns will improve as a result.
I am happy to report that, as of last week, I have now completed my coursework, and I don't have any intentions of reaching for the text books anytime soon. This in itself should free up some valuable time, which with any luck, I should be able to use for exercising. Every new year I make a promise to myself to prioritise my wellbeing, but I always fall short on this, usually putting the needs of others before my own. I hope this year will be the exception, and I can only be encouraged by the significant birthday that's on the horizon ;) 

This morning I have used the last of the summer fruits to make some compote and there is now a batch of homemade spiced carrot and lentil soup in the freezer. I have baked some flapjack which is cooling as I type and several rather overripe bananas will be finding their way into a banana and cinnamon loaf just as soon as I have drunk my coffee.

I am off work for now, so this coming week I intend to balance some fun days out with getting my house back into some sort of order...in more ways than one :)

J. X

Thursday 3 February 2022

A New Month

Despite a promising start, January finished up being a bit of a slog. Like I said in my previous post, I've been kept busy juggling work and home, which in turn saw me falling behind with my coursework and becoming quite overwhelmed. Even the plans I had made for some nice days out didn't work out quite as I'd hoped. A lesson learned, however. I now realise that sometimes I should lower my expectations, not everything will be perfect, and I need to stop putting so much pressure on myself. At least the feedback on my last submitted module was positive and I only have one more left to complete. Once this is finished I will be having a much needed break from my studies.

There have some good moments, however. Our wildlife group met up again. This time we were making bird feeders, in time for the Big Garden Birdwatch. I spent a peaceful hour watching over the garden from my kitchen window, but it was rather quiet. The weather that day was particularly windy, so only some starlings, blackbirds and a crow were brave enough to take their chances. Of course,  the following day, once the storm abated, it was business as usual, with all our regular visitors.

I met and helped to feed some gorgeous alpacas.

And another wonderful moment happened while driving home after a particularly stressful day, when a beautiful barn owl flew alongside my car for a short time. It felt quite magical. So it wasn't all that bad, I suppose, and it is important I keep some perspective. Having said that, it isn't always easy at the time.

In a bid to shake myself out of the doldrums and restore some sense of balance once again, at the weekend I insisted on getting up on the fells, albeit a small one :) After another incredibly windy day on Saturday, Sunday was forecast to be much more settled and with the added appeal of there being a cave on our route, Lily was definitely up for the walk. 

The weather was actually much brighter than the photographs would suggest but to begin with we were on the shaded side of the fell looking over towards Grasmere. The clouds came over just after we had reached the top.

It was only after we had visited the summit that we ventured into the cave, which in reality is an old quarry. Lily had hoped we could eat our lunch in there but it was a little too dark and damp for my liking, so we walked back down the fell and sat much more comfortably on a bench by the river, where we finished up sharing some of our bread with these friendly ducks, as well as a robin, which had been watching us hopefully from a nearby tree branch. 

A brand new month and a fresh start. I just hope this one will turn out to be an improvement on the last.

J. X