Saturday, 19 May 2018

Tissington Welldressings 2018

Tissington is a quaint, sleepy village, nestling in the Derbyshire countryside, hidden from the passing A-road.

There's a Hall, a church, stone cottages, a village green, and a duck pond. Everything you'd expect.
At this time of year, though, you'll find lots of visitors, all there to see the well-dressings.

It's a Derbyshire tradition, with its origins lost in time - some say it's a celebration of surviving the Plague of 1665, or a particularly bad drought during which the wells didn't run dry - but throughout the summer months villages across the county decorate their wells with mosaics made of flower petals, seeds and pebbles.

Tissington welldressing week begins on Ascension Day, and the wells here generally draw on bible stories or hymns for inspiration.

stones and petals mark out the wording

Moses in the bullrushes is a bit
hidden by the bright sunlight

This was my favourite - the words of the hymn are normally thought of in reference to sailors, but here 'those in peril' include a turtle caught in a fishing boat's nets, and the 'peril' includes a seabed littered with plastic.

I also loved these poppies at the 'Coffin Well'.

After walking round the village, we headed out across the fields, watched by some curious sheep, to reach the Tissington Trail, a foot and cycle path following an old railway line.

I'm not sure what Dylan thought of the welldressings but he certainly enjoyed the walk, and a stop to admire the view out towards Parwich.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Felley to Moorgreen - evening stroll

It's necessary now to visit my parents several times a week, and I wanted to add something a bit more fun into our trips, so, with the lovely weather we've been having, I decided to check out Google maps and Streetmap for possible interesting places to walk. 

I stumbled on this path after our recent visit to Felley Priory bluebells woods. It starts not far from there - in fact from a farm named Felley Mill - and follows a stream towards Moorgreen Reservoir, then alongside it, although at a distance. 

It's a pretty walk, mostly flat with a good path if you stick to the bridleway, heading through mature woodland with swathes of garlic in flower at this time of year, smaller clumps of bluebells, and sneaky glimpses of the reservoir (access to its banks is reserved for fishermen)

I over-estimated the distance though, and before we knew it had reached the 'B' road at the far end of the reservoir.
Moorgreen reservoir as seen from the road

Beauvale Lodge at the
turning-around point

It's not far from Eastwood, at the heart of DH Lawrence country, and at our turning round point I found an information board with details of a 5 mile walk exploring further afield - perhaps one to try another time.

garlic in flower

It's yet another of those areas which despite being close to the area I grew up in, and having driven along that particular stretch of road often enough, I've never explored, so something to add to my #60things list.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Getting fit - bit by bit

For quite a while I've been talking about getting fitter - not getting thin, or running marathons or even the couch to 5km challenge, but just being able to go out for longer walks without feeling exhausted by the end. With this in mind I'd been talking about methods of tracking how far I'd walked, and for my birthday eldest daughter bought me a Fitbit - a basic version without the all-singing/dancing gimmicks of the more advanced ones but it does everything I need it to.

The first challenge was getting it set up! It wasn't the Fitbit's fault but my phone is so short of memory that it couldn't cope - something inside it gave up completely and I lost internet connection for days. Then I tried to sync with my pc - oops, no bluetooth connection.
I'm in the process of moving everything to a new pc, so I tried that - still no luck.
At this point I went away and ate my birthday chocolates

Eventually we've rigged up a bizarre communication method, whereby the Fitbit links to my husband's phone, then to my new pc. 

And then I had to try some exercise!
I quickly found there are several oddities about the exercise tracking. Knitting for example registers as steps (possibly due to moving both hands). Ironing doesn't, even though I'm standing up. Same for gigs unless I move around A LOT. One evening, it decided I'd been asleep when I was actually chatting on social media. I figure it's give or take accurate enough to give me an idea of roughly how much exercise I'm taking each day.
So, the big question, how many steps DO I take?
Well, I started with the daily goal set quite low - 3000 steps - and soon realised that I reach this most days (unless it's raining). So I upped that a bit to 5000, but a walk round a supermarket (don't rest you hand on the trolley or the steps won't be counted) can reach that, and with the fine weather, I've been out walking a lot. I don't want to feel any pressure though on the stay-at-home days, so, as the Fitbit has four flashing lights to mark my progress, I've settled for now on 6000 steps as a target. A slow day will only see two of those light shining, but that's ok with me, and if I go way beyond the target I can find out by how much by checking the pc. 
I'm not sure if it's encouraging me to take more exercise - I don't have the hourly prompts set, as I refuse to be nagged by a fancy wristband, or have it checking my sleep patterns, as I think I sleep soundly most night and don't want to learn otherwise. Anyway, both seem beside the point. I want to monitor how much I'm walking, to get back to a state of fitness where I'm confident I can walk 5 or so miles, and for that the Fitbit seems to be working.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Bluebells again - Felley Priory

Another day, another outing to see bluebells :)
I don't really think many words are necessary, really, other than to say these were in the wonderful bluebell wood at Felley Priory, Nottinghamshire. Although the gardens there are open all year round, the wood is only open to visitors for the few weeks that bluebells flower in spring.

As the admission covers both the bluebell walk and entry to the gardens, we rounded off our afternoon with a stroll among the topiary and flower beds. For a place that's barely a mile from a busy motorway, it's amazingly quiet and peaceful. Last year was my first ever visit, despite living nearby for many years, and I intended going b ack when the roses and herbaceous borders were in flower, but never got round to it. This year I will!

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Learning from my daughter

Back at the end of February, we loaded the car and headed north, carrying our youngest's gear up to her new flat in Manchester. It felt like a bit of a rushed move due to her work commitments, and I don't think the enormity of it had sunk in with any of us.
March passed in a blur , by the beginning of April I decided things had to change though now, looking back on the month, I realise they didn't. I was so unprepared for this new empty nest phase, but it was only when reading my daughter's blog posts on the same subject that I understood how badly I was coping.
In a series of posts my daughter has been talking about this new phase of life from her perspective, the problems encountered and how she's starting to overcome them. It's nice to know she's starting to feel settled and learning how to cope with her new responsibilities BUT it highlighted the fact that I'm not!

As a long-term stay-at-home mum, my life has revolved around my daughters, with routines dictated by their needs - from afternoon naps, to school run, or taxiing to the station. When my elder daughter left home, I still had a small child to look after, so I didn't notice this emptiness. This time round, things are very different. What I've realised is that without anyone (ie my youngest daughter) checking up on how I'm living my life, I've dropped into some lazy habits. You'd think having a husband around would make a difference, but men don't notice that inch of dust building up in a corner, or the ever-growing ironing pile (or, at least, mine doesn't), and see ready meals and takeaways as just a convenience rather than a lack of enthusiasm for cooking.

So, I'm going to take some advice from my daughter. Her post about What Is and Isn't Self-care made me acknowledge that basically I'm just slobbing about. High and Low Level Adulting had me thinking that I'm going about things back to front, avoiding the basics but trying to do the clever stuff. I have no real NEED to get up and about in the mornings, so I frequently get up late and waste an hour or so on social media before doing anything. I spend a lot of time looking at holiday sites - AirBnB, Canopy and Stars, anything that includes the word 'glamping' - even though I know that realistically I can't take holidays this year because of my parents' health. My staycation days out, while fun and at times a necessary bit of relaxation, are just procrastination tactics. Basically I think I'm looking for distractions to fill the daughter-shaped hole in my life, but going about it the wrong way. From now on, there'll be no more leaving the housework till I'm expecting a visitor, I'll re-apply myself to book blogging (which I've shamefully let drift) and try to discover what I want to do with my life for the next twenty or so years ...

If anyone has any helpful ideas on how to get through these first few awkward months, please share them!

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Decisions, decisions; Saturday night out

It's not often I can boast that I have a choice of events to go to, but, due to not noting the dates properly, this Saturday I ended up with just that - a school reunion back where I grew up or a gig promoting the launch of a local band's single.
I'm always more tempted by something new, rather than 'same old', so, yep, we went to the gig.

The location was somewhere new - Dubrek studios in Derby; the music a mix of new - Eddie from Eddie and the Wolves, and Grawl!x - and familiar - George Gadd (without whom I can't seem to go out these days) and the stars of the show, Scribble Victory.

George Gadd,
insisting we all follow
him outside


I've seen Scribble Victory playing part sets here and there, as they've often played the same venues as my daughter, but this is the first time I've caught a full set by them.
What would you call them? Pop? Rock? Band, duo, two-some? Whatever, it's one guy with a guitar, another with a set of drums, and both of them singing. Their music is toe-tapping and catchy, and they ended the night with The Proclaimers' I'm Gonna Be (500 miles). I think I chose the right event to go to :)

New-to-me venue and acts makes three things to add to the #60things list

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Lodge Hill Bluebells

I've long maintained that the bluebells at  BowWood near Cromford are the best anywhere but they may now have a rival - Lodge Hill Bluebells, near Yoxall, Staffordshire.

It's always hard to capture the spread and extent of bluebells in a picture, so these are best imagined as one photo leading to the next, but, also, don't just look at the foreground, see how the flowers continue into the distance.

Before you walk through the gateway into the woodland, you can see bluebells covering the hillside - but take a few more steps and the view of them becomes clearer, and the area they cover, more apparent.
The hillside here is gentler than at Bow Wood, and, although I don't think the bluebells cover as large an area, they are more tightly packed, giving that flowing carpet-like feel.

Lodge Hill, like Felley Priory, is a commercial enterprise, but the entrance fee is small, the paths well marked, and dogs are welcome, which is always nice, so Dylan had a day out too.

There are three shortish walks, adding up to just under 3km, so after the first we took time out for tea and cake (to keep our energy up, obviously!)

The brook-side walk has less bluebells but lots of other flowers to spot - celandines, primroses, dog violets, wood sorrel, and (possibly) soapwort.

The last part of the walk brought us back through those wonderful bluebells. Although I'd known in a vague sort of way about some bluebells 'down near Yoxall', I hadn't visited before. I think now they'll go on to my 'must visit' list for every bluebell-season.
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