Saturday 25 February 2023

Winter Is Loosening Its Grasp


This is the time of year I yearn for.  After a long, dark winter, the hours of daylight are gradually increasing, the early mornings are filled with birdsong, and the air is filled with a delicious, earthy scent, as the sun begins to warm the land once again. We are not out of the woods just yet, as the forecast is showing some light snow over the next week, but I feel certain those bitterly cold, wintry days are behind us now and that any more frosty mornings will be fleeting.

One bright day last week, we took a walk from Keswick, with the intention of hiking up Lonscale Fell. It was a lovely morning and as we climbed the steep path up Jenkin Hill, I decided on a 'slight detour' to our planned route, and we finished up at the top of Skiddaw! We had completed the most challenging part of the walk and as it was one of those rare days when the summit wasn't shrouded in cloud,  I thought we might as well make the most of it. We descended via Lonscale Fell, so we did, in fact, accomplish what we had initially set out to do, it just took a little while longer :) Our next fell will be our 100th Wainwright. Still a long way to go until we complete them all, but cause for a small celebration, I think. 

Some time off work has been very welcome, and this week I've spent most of my days at home. I hadn't really thought of posting until now, as my days have felt rather mundane and of no particular interest, but in small ways I have been quite productive and for that I am grateful. I've spent some time studying and tackled several modules of my coursework, caught up with the housework and finally cleared out my wardrobe. I now have two more bags to take to the charity shop, although that will be a job for another day. 

Pancake Day was acknowledged, and in typical fashion, I probably won't eat any more again until next year. 

The Warm Space will be continuing for another month, and although I have given myself this week off, I will be back to baking again on Wednesday. Last week, the Bakewell cake proved very popular, and I am now even receiving requests :)

On Wednesday we spent a fun morning orienteering. It was an organised event where families could have a go at different activities, learn new skills and complete various challenges. We did quite well, considering it was our first time, and I've already signed us up for another event. Lets just hope the next one is somewhere a little less muddy - I still have our boots to clean. 

On a more personal note, I feel my back is completely fine now. I have yet to go for a run, which as I have said before will be the real test, but I haven't felt so much as a twinge while I've been out walking. This is such good news, especially as we head towards spring, and I am looking forward to spending more time outdoors. Yesterday, as we walked through the woods, there were signs everywhere. The snowdrops are all out, catkins hung from the tree branches and I even spotted my first wild garlic.  

J. X

Monday 13 February 2023


I have always considered myself to be a fairly upfront and truthful person. Oh, alright then, too truthful at times, if I'm being honest. And I must admit, I do feel a little concerned occasionally when asked for my opinion on something, on the basis of my 'refreshing' honesty :)

The same goes for my posts here. Naturally, I prefer to focus on the bright and positive side of things - there is enough misery in the world to read about without me adding any more to it. I do have the not-so-positive going on behind the scenes from time to time, although not much more than anyone else has to deal with, thankfully.

I like to think my posts are light hearted, some nice images and a few snippets of what I've been up to. Many of you have an idea what I do for a living, which is absolutely fine, but I don't talk about it at all on here due to the confidential nature of my job, which I am sure I may have mentioned before. And there will always be those who make assumptions about my life from what I choose to share on here, which I completely understand, and that can't be helped. I'm guilty of it myself ;)

I always consider myself incredibly fortunate in that I am part of this wonderful blog community on here and I really appreciate and cherish the interactions I enjoy with so many of you, both here and on my visits to your own blogs. Ever since I began writing here, I have even been lucky enough to have mostly avoided trolls and unnecessary comments, aside from the computer generated ones, and even they have all but stopped lately - Perhaps I shouldn't have put that out there!  

So you can imagine how disappointed I felt to have received a comment asking as to whether or not Lily was with me 'all the time', as it would appear that I hadn't mentioned her in my previous post. 

Perhaps I am over-thinking this, but I have always thought that whenever I have mentioned Lily in my posts, it has always been done with careful consideration and respect for her privacy. I have specifically chosen never to disclose too much information regarding my family or any of my friends for this same reason. And why the answer to this question would be of any concern to  'Anonymous' I am really not sure. Genuine curiosity? Perhaps. But the insensitive way in which the question was directed leads me to think otherwise.

I would really appreciate your thoughts on this. I'm curious. In this age of sharing so much of our lives online have I perhaps shared too much previously that it was thought acceptable to ask such a forward question, or am I perhaps being over sensitive? How do you exercise caution with the information you choose to share on your posts?

J. X

Wednesday 1 February 2023

Goodbye January

I never have cared very much for January. For many it begins with Auld Lang Syne, New Year's resolutions, and sometimes a 'word of the year'. For me, however, it has often brought with it much uncertainty, unexpected challenges and even loss. As you can imagine, I usually dread the start of a new year, and I realise my feelings of apprehension and foreboding only serve to exaggerate any existing sense of impending doom. Some years, I have tried my hardest to remain upbeat and positive, but that didn't particularly help - I don't think I was convincing anyone, especially not myself! 

This year, I have tried a far more gentle approach. I found myself quietly going about my days, not putting any pressure on myself and simply focusing on my working week - with the occasional walk on the weekends when the weather has allowed. My pace has been unhurried and slower, taking things day by day. And even though I've not been quite as productive as usual, what I have achieved has been far more intentional, and this is exactly what I need just now. A time to heal, a time to let go, a time to just simply 'be'. My absence in this space has been deliberate, just dipping in now and again to enjoy a quick read. I had hoped that if I kept my head down, and quietly tiptoed my way through the month, then the more unwelcome parts might simply pass me by. And for the most part this has been the case, although I am sure this has been more to do with fortunate coincidence than anything I may or may not have actually done :)

I am happy to report that my back is recovering well after the 'incident'. I discovered that continued gentle movement has helped far more than simply resting, and although I have yet to attempt going for a run, I'm sure it won't be too far off. I have kept walks at a low level, partly with me being uncertain of my abilities just now, but mainly because of the awful wet weather. Even on dry days, it has been incredibly cold, and on the higher fells the snow and ice would have been far too treacherous for walking.

Whilst out of the main tourist season, we have ventured to some parts of The Lakes which would usually be quite busy, and therefore not particularly enjoyable to visit.  Right now, they are peaceful and quiet, just as I like it. 

I have also been spending this last month being more mindful of my diet. Stodgy sandwiches have been replaced by some very tasty salads. I've found preparation is the key, rather than finding myself reaching for the quickest solution when I am feeling hungry. And I am trying very hard not to give into temptation too often, which is easier said than done when I have such a sweet tooth :) I am still providing a cake for the Warm Space each week, so at least I can still have the enjoyment of baking. And last week, I spent a busy evening in the kitchen making marmalade. One day I might even manage to do it without getting both myself and the kitchen into such a sticky mess! Never mind, it tastes delicious. I couldn't bring myself to make any last year, as my dad would have been the first person I would have given a jar to. He used to joke that he found it easier walking on the days he had enjoyed some - because of the added brandy!

It has been a quiet few weeks, for which I am relieved. And now I hope to spend some time catching up properly with everyone over the next few days. 

J. X