16 February 2020

Going with the flow

I know that we are not able to look into the future, I am not sure that I would ever want to, but I know that if I had looked into February I would not believe what I could see.  It has been an interesting first half of the month.

Some days have been so full that we have only really been at home to eat.  Whilst making breakfast I have also made the other two meals to be eaten later in the day.  Those periods at home gave us time to eat and for breathing in, to rest and recharge before the next thing.  It sounds rather ridiculous and busy when I write it down like this but it worked, we were on time for everything and were not feeling rushed.  There have been several days like this.

A few years ago I would not have had this kind of my day in diary.  It would have been too much for us all, a few years feels like a lifetime ago now, with growing children their commitments have grown too.  Slowly.  It is like any change, when we do it slowly it feels more comfortable, more manageable, we can grow into it, stretch ourselves slowly and the change then feels like a comfortable pair of shoes rather than a pair that rubs and cause us pain.

At the beginning of the year I was asked if I could help out with a paid role in the village.  It is a job I have held in the past, the current incumbent was on sick leave and I was asked to step in, temporarily, not having worked for pay for 11 years this felt rather daunting.  Home educating my children has continued many of the skills that I used in my paid work life but as an unknown world to many it can be make it difficult to quantify those skills to others.  That temporary state of affairs has turned to permanence, I have been through an application process and an interview I haven't done either of these for fifteen years.  I have been digging deep into the memory bank, the grey cells have been worked hard.

I have been at home for eleven years home educating the children, I gave up work to do that, a decision I have never regretted, but I know it will not be that long before I am no longer needed as a guide, facilitating my children's education.  I came to motherhood late, by the time my daughter turns 18 I will be at an age when looking for work after a such long break, her whole life, it is most likely to make me at the bottom of the pile in an application process.  I had been giving some thought to my future over the past few months, thinking that a small part time job that I can fit around our lives might be possible now.  Don't you love it when something come to you and falls into your lap?

Last weekend we were visited by Storm Ciara, it flooded homes in my village, thankfully not mine, and effected the water supply.  Many homes in my village and those in many surrounding us were without water for several days, again we were not effected by this.  We had activities cancelled as the buildings they were held in had no water supply, commitments having to change as the roads were blocked by flooding.  I have been grateful for modern technology, allowing these changes to be passed on to us easily and in good time.

This weekend we now have a different storm paying us a visit, Dennis, we now have strong winds and more rain falling on already wet ground.  I feel for those people who have had water come into their homes which it may do again this weekend.  I have watched the field opposite my house turn into a lake once again, as it did last weekend, I am so grateful that this water has somewhere to go rather than in my house.

We are well stocked with food and wood so we don't need to go out this weekend.  I rather like not having to go out at the weekend after a full week, an enforced hibernation.  I am grateful that I have somewhere warm and cosy to shelter in this stormy weather.  Next week is a school holiday here in the UK, for us this means that many of our usual activities are not running.  We are still pretty busy but with different things, Storm Dennis may put paid to some of that as Storm Ciara did last week.

We will take each day as it comes, what about you?

09 February 2020

Nurturing Sanctuary

As I sit here on a Saturday evening listening to Storm Ciara strutting her stuff outside, I know that the decision we all made last night to cancel our plans, in the only half an hour we had together, was the right one.  At the end of a week of days full of doing, an afternoon and evening of rest is what we all needed.

We have been ships passing in the night this week my husband and I, picking him up from work one evening gave us a rare half an hour together.  Although some days it didn't feel like it would, everything slotted together like a jigsaw by focusing on what needed to be done rather than whether it would be possible, several mornings I was preparing our tea/evening meal at 9am.  I stifled yawn after yawn driving Cameron to meet a friend for a few hours of mountain biking, we were running late, unsurprisingly,  as my brain had pretty much run out of space at this point in the week.  I surprised myself by being unfazed by this we are rarely the ones who are late, it was our turn.  The wide blue skies made the journey a whole lot easier, whilst Cameron was riding I would walk, the sunshine made the thought of this appealing despite my tiredness.

Running through my week like a ribbon through my life has been the moments spent with friends sharing words and time.  Words that have enveloped me like a warm hug as my brain was struggling to process a really difficult and long meeting I sat through one night.  Words, unsolicited, that have eased my worries.  Time that has helped things to stand still for a pause until movement is necessary again.  The connections I have in my life to people, to places have carried me through.  It bought me back to some words that I heard on a podcast, about the importance of nurturing these connections and by doing so creating places of sanctuary, protecting, looking out for and after each other, places where we feel safe.   Those difficult moments that have punctuated this week have been easier to bear, less of a burden to carry around.

As the storm rages outside, my home is my sanctuary from the weather, keeping us warm and safe.  I am really grateful to have such a place, as I have been grateful for the sanctuary of the people and places in my life this week.  Storm Ciara is hanging around on Sunday, we shall be resting at home, recharging and resetting our batteries preparing ourselves for the week ahead.

I hope you have sanctuaries in your life too?

04 February 2020

Sustainable Living January

This blog has always been about living life in a mindful and intentional way, for me this means that most of the decisions we make have been thought about carefully, even if we decide to continue as we are a decision has still been made.  When we take a product from a shelf in a shop or tap a button on a screen, should we stop and think about how it has got this point before we do so?  It can be hard to make decisions over many aspects of our lives, we are often far removed from the means of production and it can be hard to find out how this operates.  Maybe we shouldn't be thinking is there a more sustainable replacement for something, rather do we really need it at all?  To help me keep on track I have come up with some words that I will be using to keep my decisions mindful and intentional, and my life in general as sustainable as I can make it.  These are the words (you can read my thoughts behind each of them here) that I been using in January.

Winter here means lots of root vegetables in our weekly veg box, I always love them at the beginning of the season - not so much by the end!  We have been having lots of roasted veggies either as a tray bakes with lots of lovely flavours, as a lunch with dips or accompanying fritters, pies or bakes.  I have also been making lots of soup with them and experimenting with the best mix of veg to make a spicy vegetable soup, carrot, potato and sweet potato has been the best combination this month.

We usually have a salad for lunch at least once a week here all year round, in the summer/warmer months it is really easy to make up a salad with local ingredients that you would traditionally put in a salad.  I am loathe to buy tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce etc in the Winter as they all will be imported from overseas, this month I have been getting creative with ingredients some from the veg box and others from the pantry to create some really tasty salads.

I have also been making a salad to eat as an accompaniment, an old favourite made with celeriac.  If you have not come across this vegetable before it looks rather odd, often quite knobbly on one end, it has white flesh and smells very like celery.  I know that celery is not popular with everyone, so if you are not a fan of celery you may not like this vegetable either.  The salad I make is very simple so I though I would share the recipe with you:

Celeriac Salad
I head of celeriac
Sunflower oil
Mustard Seeds
Wholegrain or Dijon Mustard

Heat a couple of tablespoons of sunflower oil, when hot add the mustard seeds and leave to cook in the oil until they start to pop, the exact amount of each will depend on how much celeriac you have but you want enough to coat the celeriac without any left over.
Peel the celeriac, grate it and place in a bowl/dish that you will serve the salad in, once the mustards seeds have started popping pour the hot oil and seeds over the grated celeriac and stir.
Mix equal amount of mayonnaise and yogurt along with a teaspoon or so of your preferred mustard, again quantities will depend on the amount of celeriac you have.
Chop the gherkins in to small rounds and mix in to the salad.

We have been having a bit of a declutter here this month.  I like everything to have a home, a place to be put away, whilst this can give the impression of a tidy house a lot of what we put away may be tidy but it is then never used again or it is forgotten about, so when we need it, we cannot for the life of us remember where we put it.  Clutter of a different kind, I have read that some call this deep clutter.  Whatever you call it we have been going through some of it and creating more organised and easy to use corners of our house.  We managed to rehome all of our unwanted things, a very slow process as some of it was going to friends or family we don't see that often.  There have been times this month when it felt like we were drowning in stuff.  It has all gone to pastures new now and I am enjoying the space that we have created.  Decluttering is a constant process though and there are plenty of places that still need attention.

I took delivery of a bulk food order this month.  I do this every three months or so, it feels like a lot of money to be spending on food but it is cheaper to do this in the long run.  A few friends add to my order for themselves too which is extra work for me but I am happy that they get to take advantage of the reduction in prices too.  It is also a reduction in packaging too as many of the items are in larger quantities than you can buy in the shops.  We don't live in a particularly big house but with clever use of space we have created the storage to enable us to do this.

We are in the full throes of Winter here, that means cold temperatures with frosts, a little bit of snow and lots of rain, there is very little growing in my garden.  I use this time of year to finish off the clearing and tidying up that I didn't manage in the Autumn which is what I have been doing this month.  I haven't quite got the garden to the state I would like it to be as yet, hopefully I will achieve that in February.  I planted my garlic cloves at the beginning of the month, not quite as many as I had hoped, I could do with some more and have been hunting for some locally without success as yet.

Inside I have been sprouting - not the small green cabbage kind - pulses and seeds, something I have done every winter for nearly twenty years.  They are soaked in a jar of water for 24 hours then drained and spread on the trays of my seed sprouter.  It takes anywhere from five to ten days for them to be ready to eat, at that point they have a small shoot and occasionally the beginnings of a leaf if I have left them that long.  They are packed full of great nutrients and make a tasty addition to our winter salads.

I have so much to be thankful for this month.  One of my brothers, after a very difficult year last year seems to have had a better month, it was so much easier to have the twice weekly phone conversations with my mum.  We had a wonderful trip to London with my parents who we have not seen for a few months, we went to the V&A, one of my most favourite museums, to see an exhibition that Cameron wanted to see for his Arts Award that he is working on.  We got to stay with my mother in law (the first time I have done this without my husband) and had a lovely time.  We have restarted our french class after a break last term.  We have started a new art class for older home educated children which Alice and Cameron are really enjoying, I am so grateful to the mum who organised for this to happen.  Whilst the children are in the art class I get to spend some time with my friends which is such a lovely nourishing way to start my week.

January has been mostly about socks, knitted socks.  I completed one pair and continued working on another that have been on the needles for about two years or so.  It is the second sock of a pair, a complicated pattern which makes it a much slower knit.  I have turned the heal, knitted the gusset and am now working my way down the foot.  I really hope to have this sock finished in the next few weeks as I have bought some yarn to make myself something and I would love to cast it on.  I know that if I do this that sock will sit there untouched for some time!

I have also been adding the odd row to Alice's tunic I am past the buttonholes and working my way up the body, I am about 2/3rds of the way up and again I hope to have this finished by the end of this month.

I host a craft group at my house every month, for Alice and some of her friends.  This month we had a go at painting pebbles, an activity suggested by one the children.   I will admit that I was a little sceptical about doing this but I really loved it, it was lovely to all sit together for a couple of hours painting and drawing our designs.  I have been using mine as a weight to hold down pages of a book so that I can work from them without needing to use my hands.  I want to create some more of these to use as plant labels for when the veggies growing in the garden.

I also got my watercolour paints out, after a long break, to add to the pages of my nature yearbook that I started last year.  It has a double page for each week of the year, I add to it as and when and will do so until the pages are full, which will be many years away I expect.

At the end of last year I had come to realise that the way I was doing the housework was not sustainable and frankly not working.  I was ill for most of November which meant the housework did not really get a look in, except the essentials such as the laundry and keeping the kitchen clean.  Come December which is often a pretty busy month the house was starting to look decidedly grubby and unkempt.  Up until that point I was doing most of the housework on one day, all at once.  For me this was hoovering, dusting, cleaning the bathroom, ironing and changing the beds.  Sweeping the hard floors and laundry were done as and when they were needed.  It would take several hours and felt like a big chore, there were areas of the house that rarely if ever got any attention and during busy weeks it all got pushed to the weekend, a time when I really did not want to be doing any housework.

I knew I needed to change the way I was doing things.   I hadn't even given it any thought when a solution fortuitously fell into my lap.  The Organised Mum has a method she calls TOMM (The Organised Mum Method).  Where by she divides things up in to three levels of jobs some are done every day, the next level is time spent on a particular room, which is the same day every week (Monday to Thursday), the final level is Friday Focus whereby you focus on one room and do a deeper clean, depending on the number of rooms on your list this might be every six to eight weeks.  I have been doing this method since the beginning of January and my house feels like a different place already.  There have been mornings that I haven't, for whatever reason, been able to do all the jobs on my list as I know I will back in that area again the following week, it no longer feels as the jobs are piling up.  I have made my days suit what we are doing each day so I don't do the rooms in the same order as The Organised Mum.  The only job that I haven't worked out where to fit in is the ironing, this is still a work in progress - the TOMM method does not include it as she doesn't do it!

This has been a huge learning curve for me.  Embracing the housework and doing a little bit each week day.  As I have absorbed this routine into the rhythm of my week I have found that I have time at the weekends for doing those jobs that I have always wanted to do but rarely have the time to, the ones that have sat patiently on the shelf and now their time has finally come.   I have read many posts on housework over the years, many which allude to the fact the people are doing what their mothers did.  My mother, whom I love dearly, was not a fan of housework or keeping a particularly tidy house.  When I would have been old enough to remember my mother doing housework she herself was back at work full time and my parents paid for a cleaner, she was the fairy who came in and magically transformed the house and did the ironing whilst we were all out.  Housework is something that I have had to figure out for myself, it has taken me a long time but hopefully I have found a better way of doing it, I will let you know in the coming months how sustainable it is for me!

It has been a pretty busy month this month, with two visits away from home to catch up with family and lots of wonderful new activities that we are now doing on a regular basis.  The highlight of the month for me though was spending the weekend with my brother, his partner and their two year old son, my nephew.  They are the relatives that live closest to me, although still a two hour drive away, Cameron and Alice love spending time with their aunt and uncle and now that they have a child, their cousin too.  On one of the days that we were with them we spent an hour in an inflatable theme park, we all went in and had an hour of madness and fun running around through the assault course, down the slides, playing in a huge ball pool and so much more.  We were exhausted and hot when our hour was up, but it was definitely more fun than an hour in the gym (not that I have ever set foot in one, they really don't appeal to me), it was a great workout!  It is so important to have a bit of fun in our lives.

Thank you for reading through this rather long post, I do hope you have enjoyed it.  You are most welcome to join me, if you publish a post do let me know in the comments below.  I will be returning on Tuesday March 3rd for my roundup of Sustainable Living in February.

01 February 2020

Rising Energy

This Saturday is Imbolc, the half way point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, a festival to celebrating the start of the earth awakening as we are starting our slow journey back towards the sun,   It may not feel it at the moment but our temperatures will start to slowly rise, this will bring with it the wonder of nature that is new life, the sap will rise, unseen by us, inside the trees bringing with it new energy.

Wish for the Fields
Night is dark and cold and long,
Winter's hold is still so strong.
But beneath the earthen crust
underneath the frozen dust
Life is growing, moving, thriving
roots are drinking, resting, striving
Buds are swelling on the trees
In the hives still sleep the bees
But moving, humming, strumming, sing
Soon we all will welcome, Spring
M. Johnson

The days are very slowly beginning to lengthen, have you noticed how it a little lighter, from one week to the next,  particularly in the evenings?  It really feels like we are heading towards the time of Spring when that starts to happen doesn't it, that extra light gives us hope and prepares us for the warmer temperatures that we know will come in the weeks ahead.

During the dark time we have looked to our inner strength to grow and support us.  It has helped us to release our fears, a journey that we started at Samhein by bringing them into focus and recording them, leaving them behind, maybe you did this in the flames of a fire.  We have been resting and recharging over Winter, now is the time to truly say goodbye to and cleanse ourselves of those thoughts that give us doubt and lessen our intuition, releasing our fears can help us on that journey to make peace with them, making space for us to welcome in new plans.  We can then start use our inner strength to bring forth our visions as ideas for the future.

The Earth around us is beginning its slow journey of waking after its rest.  This is a time of new beginnings, the buds will soon appear, small shoots will poke their way through the soil, you may have already seen these, the snowdrops are just starting to appear where I live.   As the nature spirits begin to stir, waking from their long sleep and seeds long buried and beginning to wake and shoot; this is a time for us to sow the seeds of new plans and new beginnings, those that we started to think about back at the time of Samhein and have been starting to give shape to since the Winter Solstice, over the coming weeks our seeds of a new beginnings, plans, learning or adventures can start to take more shape.

I like to think
That, long ago,
There fell to earth
Some flakes of snow
Which loved this cold,
Grey world of ours
So much, they stayed
As snowdrop flowers
Mary Vivian

If it is your thing, doing a Rising Meditation at this time of year can be an amazing way to feel connected to the earth and to absorb its rising energy.  If you get yourself into a comfortable standing position, perhaps with bare feet and/or closing your eyes if you want to.  Staying still, feel the ground beneath you feet, feel its energy, feel that energy flowing into your feet, up your legs into your body, into yours arms, your fingers, up your neck and into your head.  Feel that energy flowing through you, strengthening you, holding your hand, guiding you in the direction that you want to go.  Think about your positive qualities, those things that you are good at, you are an amazing person, you can use these qualities you value in yourself in the year ahead, they will serve you well.

We can also use this time to cleanse our lives physically too, maybe giving away possessions that we not longer have a use for or perhaps stopping an activity or job that we find draining and get no pleasure from and that we have the ability to change. Decluttering our homes is a really rewarding thing to do, if it feels like a huge task, start with one small area, or a cupboard, take your time and don't try to do it all at once.

If you have absorbed the rising energy of the earth, try and make time to feel that rising energy again over the coming weeks; use that energy to bring your seeds of new plans and beginnings into being.  As we emerge from our restful state, as we absorb the energy from the Earth may our actions be guided by the reflective, feeling and caring side of ourselves, the path of our heart where we follow our dreams and deepest wishes.  May we pledge to ourselves to listen to the path of our heart and to our intuition,
the inner voice we often quieten with our doubts, but which is so often a voice of wisdom.

27 January 2020

A Peek in to my Day

Outside my window I can see snow on the hills and red tinge on the clouds, a red sky in the morning is usually means a day of wet weather - maybe even snow as it is cold enough for it.

Around the house it is remarkably tidy at the moment, I have been thinking hard, over the past month or so, about how I manage the housework I am trying out a new way of doing things which seems to be working, I will share more at the end of the month.

We have been thinking about a few plans for holidays later in the year, it is always good to think about these at this time of year when it is dark and cold, family time together.

I am thinking about friends who are having a hard time of it at the moment.

We spent the weekend with my brother, his partner and their two year old, I am thankful for time with family and my children building a relationship with their cousin.

I have a pretty busy week this week, I am pondering whether it is a little too busy, I have already shelved a couple of things.

In my kitchen there is lots of frozen fruit defrosting, I plan to make fruit leather with it all.  I processed it all last year but ran out of time to dry it into fruit leather before Christmas. That is a job for do this week.

I have been joining in a knit-a-long this month and I am creating, very slowly, a sock that has been on the needles for a least two years.  I am determined to finish it.

Monday is a busy day for us, later this morning I am going to a local town to take Cameron and Alice to an Art class, after the class we will drive, having a picnic on the way, to our Monday group when we going for a walk perhaps doing some nature sketching if the weather is ok.

The children have been rehearsing a dramatisation of a poem about a local waterfall we are going for a walk to the actual waterfall this week, I am hoping the weather is not too awful.

I am reading the rather wonderful Wilding by Isabella Tree, I am savouring every word of this book and really don't want it to come to end.  It is so rich with information that I am sure that I will read this book many times over the coming years.

I am loving listening to podcasts, I cannot believe I have taken so long to discover them, I am listening to and really enjoying Folk on Foot at the moment, interviews with British folk musicians walking in the landscape where they live and/or grew up interwoven with their music.

My life is very full at the moment, the children have lots of things that they do both in and outside the house, I am loving that they are so interested in so many things.  It is really important that I am one step ahead all the time so that we are organised and don't forget things, I am learning the importance of writing everything down that I need to do, something that I used to do but had drifted away from during the past year.

I went to a gathering organised by a dear friend at the end of last month, it was a beautiful and nourishing occasion, one of the lovely people there shared some wonderful words which have become my favourite quote this month.  Enjoy the little things in life because one day you will look back and realise they were the big things.

I got given a wonderful book for Christmas 2018 which is a tutorial on storytelling.  A friend and I have been working our way slowly through the exercises it is amazing and so insightful we are meeting again this week and I am looking forward to seeing what the next chapter brings.

I am wearing a grey cardigan, with a patterned skirt in shades of dark pink and grey tights with small white and pink spots on.

A peek into my day.


A wee reminder that I will be posting my monthly roundup of sustainable living next week on Tuesday 04 February, if you want to join me.

22 January 2020

Left and Right

It has been a very long time since I knit a pair of socks.  I have some on the needles, the second sock of a pair which I think I cast on about two years ago they have been slowly growing year by year.  It is a complicated pattern which makes it difficult to knit whilst I am sitting chatting with friends and completely impossible to knit whilst watching something or reading, the times that I do most of my knitting.

When I was shopping for wool to make Christmas gifts late last year a ball of sock yarn fell into my shopping cart too.  A few weeks after it arrived, whilst I was knee deep in Christmas knitting I discovered a knit-a-long (KAL) where you could knit anything you like, taking place in January to keep us all going through the month.  I didn't need any motivation to get these socks on the needles but I thought it would be fun to be knitting along with other people and have a date to complete them by, I really didn't want these socks to be on the needles in two years time too.  It has taken me two weeks rather than two years to make this pair assisted somewhat by a long train and car journey the perfect time to be knitting.  I have realised what a great transportable project socks are, I can see me knitting more socks this year when I have a long journey to make.

It is really important to look after our feet.  I have made some huge changes to the shoes I wear over the years, now my main shoes are all of the barefoot type.  This means that they have very thin soles (a few mm), no heel rise at all and a toe box that allows my feet to sit in their natural shape without squashing my toes, foot shaped shoes.  I wear no shoes at all in the house and rarely wear anything unless it is a really cold day, we have no carpet downstairs, but my feet don't feel the cold like they used to.

I know that there are many people that use supports of some sort in their shoes, there is a huge industry out there selling many different types.  I have to admit I find this quite baffling. If you were to break a limb what would you do after the bone had set, would you continue to support that limb and not use it?  I suspect that you wouldn't, using supports in your shoes is the same thing, the longer you use them the weaker your feet get.  I am not advocating that you throw out your supports and stop using them completely but try walking a little without them and build up that time to longer and longer each day, building up those muscles in your feet to strengthen them.  You may find if you have pain in other joints that slowly starts to lessen too.

You might be looking at those socks above and thinking, especially if you are knitter, that they look a little different?  Well you would be right on that.  All the sock patterns I have ever come across usually have toes that look like this:

Now I don't know about you but my feet are definitely not that shape.  My big toe is in a straight line with the rest of my foot not tapered inwards.  If I am going to go to all that effort of making socks for myself, socks that are made to measure, I thought it would also be better if they were made to fit the shape of my foot too.  To shape a sock you decrease stitches by knitting them together, in the picture above this is done on both sides of the sock, this gives you a pair of socks that you can wear on either foot.  The socks in the first picture, however, are only decreased on one side giving them a more foot like shape.  This is my first attempt to make them like this, they are not perfect but I am happy with them and all my socks will be knitted to this shape in the future, another way that I can look after my feet.  Now there is no putting my socks on any foot as they will feel rather odd, it is a good job they are foot shape as I am hopeless at knowing which is left and which is right!

17 January 2020

Winter Adventures

We have started this Winter with lots of days out enjoying the beautiful countryside we get to call home.  My husband was off work for 12 days over the Christmas and New Year period which gave us lots of time to have some great days out.

We got the canoes out for a trip around a local lake.  I love canoeing, especially as a family, but we don't manage it that often as the only day we can all go is on a Sunday.  I very often need the time on this day to get myself ready for the week ahead or do those jobs that there is not the time for during the week.  It was a grey day in the main with welcome odd sightings of the sun and enough wind to get the little sail out for the journey back to the car.  We were the only boats out and about, apart from the steamers taking folks out for trips around the lake.

Our friends who live in Scotland were down for a few days just before Christmas, we managed to spend the day with them and another family on a walk alongside a different lake.  We were so lucky that that it was another dry day with patches of sunshine.

Whenever we are at home for Christmas we go for a walk on Christmas Day.  We have kedgeree for breakfast which is really filling, we take snacks with us, there is no need for a picnic.  This walk is very near to where we live, the hills in these pictures are the view from my house.  The small amount of water in the middle photo is a reservoir that was built to supply water to Manchester about 100 miles away, it flooded the valley covering a small village, when we have a really dry summer and the water level drops you can see remnants of walls and buildings.  The water travels underground in a pipeline which is feat of engineering you can read more about it here.

My mountain bike was dusted off and taken out the garage for a rare outing.  I am not a massive fan of mountain biking I prefer to ride on roads.  My husband and Cameron go mountain biking regularly and love it when Alice and I join them.  We weren't riding together though as Alice and I opted for the wide open forest tracks whilst Husband and Cameron were on a purpose built mountain biking route that had no appeal for us!

Alice enjoyed our dusk walk on the Winter Solstice so much that she asked if we could do it again only this time staying out until it was properly dark.  We headed out at about 2 o'clock when most folks were heading back to their cars.  It was a wild and windy day with good views from vantage points, we were rewarded with a beautiful sunset and the thinest sliver of a newish moon.  It is something we are going to do again whilst the evenings are still dark fairly early.

We had plans to go for a big walk with friends on New Years Eve.  They challenged us to take them somewhere new, to them, so we opted for a ridge that my husband drives past on this way to work every day.  It was a glorious day, big wide blue skies with the odd fluffy cloud, once we got up on the ridge we could see for miles and had a 360° view.  We saw one other walker in the six hours we were out walking.  We covered 13km/8 miles mostly off paths and through some very wet boggy places in parts.  As we walked down off the ridge the sun dropped down behind the hills and it got very cold indeed.  We followed our walk with an evening meal at our house, seeing in the New Year with a glass of champagne and some inspired dancing and singing to Auld Lang Syne!

We haven't been on quite so many adventures since then but I have realised that at this time of year if you don't plan to go out you will never do it, you have probably worked that out already.  If we were to wait for the weather to be fair then we would definitely never leave the house.  We are planning on having a day out a week doing something, whatever the weather, throughout the Winter.  We have the clothing and equipment to cope with cold, wet days  and I have heard it quoted often there is no such thing as bad weather only the unsuitable or wrong clothing we don't have any excuses.  So Winter here we come!

Have you had any fun adventures yet this Winter?