2018 has been the second year I’ve participated in the initiative by Country Walking Magazine. My story was even a feature for their 2018 campaign. You can read all about the positive affects of walking on mental health by reading my post here.
For the past 12 months, I’ve been busy counting my miles daily and tallying my weekly totals. I’ve counted workouts on the cross-trainer, walks to work, exercising the family dog, Riley and of course holidays and days out with David! My overall mileage for 2018 has been a wonderful 1,871 miles. Beating my 2017 total, by over 500 miles!
As in 2017‘s post, I’ve split the year into seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter, and give the miles for each of the three months. It will be good to see how different my mileage accumulates over the year and how it differs per season and against 2017’s totals.
So without further ado, let’s begin with my favourite season of all, spring!
Spring: (March, April and May)
I don’t know about you, but 2018 has simply flown! Spring seems such a long time ago! However I can still remember the excitement I felt when the first buds in the yarden began to sprout and the days lengthened. During this quarter there were many days out to the Lake District. As well as walking Riley at local parks and nature reserves. I even completed my 500 miles by April!
David and Christine at Castle Crag
Riley and Bennie
Reaching 500 miles
David and Riley at mere Sands Wood
View from a hide – Pennington Flash
Total miles for spring= 481. That’s 150 miles more than the spring of 2017! Riley accompanied me on 133 miles this quarter.
Summer: (June, July and August)
Summer 2018 was simply fantastic! I had so much fun! I saw and shared with David (and you) so many diverse experiences. June for me is always about The Wildlife Trusts‘ 30 Days Wild, and what a wild month it was! David and I visited many new nature reserves and even managed to fit in a few days holiday to the Lake District. I swam in cold tarns and walked alpacas. In July, David and I saw art trails of robins and bees in Nottingham and Manchester. I completed the #walk1000miles challenge and my friend Jennifer visited from California.
David and Riley at Port Sunlight River Park
Stickle Tarn swim
Robin Hood and Christine
The Birds and the Bees
Total miles for summer= 442.
I was surprised that 2018’s summer miles were lower than spring’s! However my overall total for summer was higher than 2017’s. I probably would have achieved more miles if it wasn’t for the heat. 2018 saw the NW of England roast under a heatwave for about two months (May-July). It was glorious to feel the heat and sunshine whilst sunbathing, but not good for walking! I really need better footwear for the summer months. Many blisters are not conducive to walking miles!
Autumn: (September, October and November)
Though I’d completed this years #walk1000miles by the 13th July, I decided to continue to count my miles and see what mileage I’d achieve by December 31st. Autumn is a beautiful season and I managed to enjoy the changing colours by getting out more. I got off the bus earlier, then walked 40+ minutes to work. I took Riley on more walks to the local park and spent four days touring the Highlands of Scotland.
Getting changed, Loch Etive
David at Glenfinnan Viaduct
The Old Man of Storr
Giants in Liverpool
Total miles for autumn= 479 miles.
I manged to walk 100+ miles more than Autumn 2017! Perhaps walking the two miles to work everyday helped? I also discovered that the totals for spring/autumn were once again similar both in 2017 and 2018!
Winter: (December, January and February)
I was determined to make the most of the daylight hours come winter. A 10 mile walk around Derwentwater in February helped kick start my #walk1000miles! David and I also went on many dog walks with Riley. Over the course of the year Riley clocked up a total of 285 miles, not bad for a 9 nine year old! Perhaps he can make 500 miles in 2019?
Night walk and new jacket
David looking wet
Total miles for winter = 469 miles. Surprisingly better than summer’s total!
Annual Total = 1,871 miles!
Achieving #walk1000miles in a year is greatly satisfying. My certificate and medal have pride of place on my gym’s wall.
2018 – Certificate and medal
#walk1000miles has a wonderful, supportive Facebook group. Through participation in this group my name was among the many others on the We Did 1000 Miles page of the January 2019 edition of Country walking Magazine. I also discovered that my story which featured as part of their website to advertise 2018’s challenge is still on their website for 2019 under the happiness tab. Which makes me happy indeed. 🙂
I was unsure whether to sign up for 2019’s challenge, however I decided to once again see how far I can walk in a year. Walking is such an easy, free activity, much underrated if you ask me. I will continue walking the miles I do and see how I go. How about you? Do you feel inspired to give the challenge a go?
If you fancy signing up, click the link below and join me and thousands more, walking that little bit more than we did last year!
Since then, I forgot to participate in spring and summer. So I decided that I was overdue to do another one. I chose the glorious season of autumn in the hope of finding new variations of the colours.
The colours of the bingo are: red, black, white, grey, yellow, pink, cream, brown and green. Here’s what I came up with from my yarden for each colour.
The striking colour red features highly in the yarden this year. There are falling blueberry leaves, cotoneaster berries and ripening autumn growing raspberries.
Black is a hard colour to find. As it had been raining today I chose the black of wet soil. Not very imaginative I know, sorry!
White was a no-brainer. I picked the white of the late blooming dahlia. The hot summer of 2018 had severely stunted the growth of the dahlia, but I managed to get three flowers from it this year. Better than nothing!
Bumblebee on Dahlia
Grey Jasmine bark
Bee on honeysuckle
For grey I chose the bark of the jasmine, while for the yellow I selected the lone honeysuckle flower still soldering on.
Pink was an easier colour. I could have chosen the pink of the penstemon or the delicate flowers of the verbena but I decided to go with the successful sedum.
The luscious petals of the fuchsia I chose for cream. This year has been the best showing of the fuschia. Perhaps the heat of the summer helped?
For brown I picked the brown leaves of the heuchera.
The colour Green, as you can imagine is abundant in the yarden. The ivy plant I deliberated was the best to depict this colour.
There were also the colour blue and purple in the yarden. For blue I chose the lithodora blue, while the purple I chose the beautiful salvia mystic spires. My yarden isn’t complete without this autumn flowering shrub.
Common Carder Bee on Lithodora Blue
Honey bee on Salvia
Perhaps you too can join in the colour bingo? Let me know what colours you find?
Drawing inspiration from The Woodland Trust’sNature Detectives worksheet – Colour Bingo. I decided to go in search of colour in the yarden. I’ve cheated a little as my camera phone isn’t great at shooting wildlife, so I have used both pictures from my phone and also ones David has taken in the past. Ultimately they show the colours that are in the yarden and of those who visit it.
The first colour that caught my eye was red. The red of these laurel berries. How vibrant are they?
Red Laurel berries
Starling Picture by David Evans
Black was a hard colour to find. I could have opted for wet soil but at the time I was perusing the yarden a solitary starling flew to the feeder. I found a picture David took a few years back. Starlings look black but they have iridescent feathers and are coloured in brown, green and and blue!
I was going to plump for a photo of a pigeon for grey but then the dunnock visited, so I decided to use him for the colour grey. I couldn’t find a good photo of the dunnock so one from a video grab will have to do.
Yellow blotches on Laurel leaf
I noticed these yellow blotches on laurel leaves. Every leaf looked different.
Green was the easiest colour to find in the yarden. There is still so much foliage about. I liked the pretty rain drops on these poppy seedlings.
Rain on poppy leaves
Though the robin’s breast would have been ideal for red. I decided to choose the robin for brown. While I was mooching about the yarden, he sat watching me from the tree. Probably waiting for me to throw food for the pigeons so he can snatch some for himself.
Cream was another difficult colour. I opted for the cream chests of the visiting goldfinches.
Goldfinches Picture by David Evans
White camellia bud
For white I chose this bud from the camellia bush. There are many buds on the shrub. I am hoping for a good show this spring from the camellia.
I couldn’t find anything for pink, but I did spy a borage flower braving the winter. I decided to incorporate its blue instead.
Perhaps you too can join in the colour bingo? Let me know what colours you find?
Though the weather did not play ball towards the end of the week, I packed as much autumn into the days as I could! This dramatic sunrise was a precursor to what was planned!
Phew, what a week it’s been!
Since our membership for Chester Zoo ran out on the 29th of this month, David and I headed back to say farewell to the red pandas! I snapped the colours of autumn as we took the lazyboat ride in Islands and even some painted dogs got in on the action!
Lazy boat ride
This week the garden was visited by this gorgeous looking robin. Also while walking to get the bus to work, I captured some lovely autumnal sunlight through the trees.
Thursday and Friday was our much awaited short break to the Lake District! For months I have been dreaming and planning two jam packed days! Thursday dawned oppressive and overcast yet we made the most of the day and visited Grizedale Forest.
Friday turned out to be a perfect day! We took in a white dawn at the shores of Derwentwater and later on the sun put in a show bringing all the autumnal colours to life!
In the evening we headed towards Loweswater in the hope of chatching a sunset and ended up playing with more leaves!
There will be subsequent blog posts with more detailed information and pictures re: the lakes holiday coming soon!
Our last day in the lakes was spent around Aira Force and Ullswater!
Rather aptly, I have an autumn birthday, clebrated on the 30th. This year I turned 40! (I still don’t know whether I am happy about that fact or not!) I shared the day with all the people I hold dear in this world, and celebrated by making a video, screaming and splashing about in Derwentwater (as you do)!
Diwali, the Hindu ‘festival of light’, this year was also on the 30th, so I lit a candle or two in honour of the festival.
And finally, the 31st October, renowned throughout the western world as being All Hallows Eve, or Halloween! It is the day when the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest.
I celebrated it by dressing up as the devil!
So, that was my Wild October. How did you celebrate yours?
It’s been a rather depressing week here in the UK. To escape the dirge from the media I have dived headlong into wildlife and The Wildlife Trusts’s 30 Days Wild. Below is an account of my fourth week, the last full week of June. I have tried to find light within the gloom!
Day 22: Wednesday
On the 30 Days Wild Facebook page, someone had created a collage of rainbow colours taken from nature. I thought I’d try one. All pictures are taken from the yarden. Featuring: antirrhinum, honeysuckle, foxglove, jasmine, campanula, erysimum and lithodora.
Day 23: Thursday
This week has been National Insect Week, an initiative to encourage people to learn more about insects. In celebration of this week, I have been putting out insect pitfall traps in the hope of catching sight of the creepy crawlies that make the yarden their home. Unfortunately on both occasions, the traps were empty, probably because they were not the best traps.
Common Clothes Moth
Since we have had some fair weather these past few days in the NW of England, I decided to try my hand at a moth light trap. During the day we see many Cinnabar Moths, but I wanted to see what night moths we attract to the yarden. I draped a white sheet over two chairs and positioned a light directly behind and waited for the darkness to deepen.
It was almost 11.30pm when it became dark! I could see many micro moths fluttering but no hawkmoths which I had hoped/wanted to see! As the stars and planets twinkled from the indigo sky, the light trap only attracted one small moth. I think it was a Webbing or Common Clothes Moth!
Though moth sightings were thin on the ground, David and I did manage to have fun in the yarden. David took to photographing the stars and dodgy ‘ghosts,’ while I enjoyed the perfumed scent of the air. Everything feels so calm at night, unlike the madness daylight hours tend to bring.
On clearing up the equipment for the night, as David was in work the following day, a beautiful marbled moth fluttered towards the light. I was half in the house, half out as it danced around the halogen bulb. Sadly we didn’t take a picture, so I don’t know what type of moth it was. I feel I have some unfinished business with moths in the yarden. I hope to maybe fit in another observation session before June is out! Needless to say my dreams were full of moths that night!
Day 24: Friday
The weather this June seems to have conspired against us! Today was another one of those days with sparse sunshine and heavy showers! With having little ‘get up and go,’ I turned to the ‘wild’ cards for inspiration. The card I chose, search for mini wildness, suggested to look for lichens and forests of moss in pavements. So I decided to take a closer look at the liverwort growing in my yarden! (I didn’t know it was liverwort until I started researching it!)
The type of liverwort in the yarden is called Marchantia polymorpha. Apparently they like compacted, wet, acidic soils. Bad luck for my camellia, but the liverwort does look nice as a green base for the plant in its shaded pot. I shall evaluate how the plant is growing and if the liverwort is effecting it in future!
Day 25: Saturday
I usually make lard cakes for the birds come winter time, but as I did this task for last years 30 Days Wild, I shall replicate it this year too!
I used a block of lard (it’s usually cheap in the supermarkets). I then microwaved it for 3 minutes until it was liquid. Threw in handfuls of mixed seed, (you can use peanuts and fruit also.) I then bulked it up with wholemeal flour. I used the suet holders with paper lined templates and scooped the fat mixture into these. I left to solidify. I shall hang them out tomorrow!
Day 26: Sunday
I never thought I was a big technophile but participating in this years, National Unplugging Day, I have discovered I turn to my computer and phone more than I care to. A typical day usually starts around 7am, the alarm on my phone wakes me up! While having breakfast, I scroll through Facebook and look at WordPress. Throughout the working day I communicate with David via email. I text my mum, even though she lives next door! I use the timer on my phone and playlists on my laptop while I am working out. I also use the timer when I am cooking. I have many books downloaded to my Kindle. I turn to Google whenever I have a question. During 30 Days Wild I have been hooked to my blog feed, looking for new posts from fellow bloggers. I wind down to BBCi and music on YouTube. All day I have Classic FM playing in the background!
So, participating in this initiative is going to be both challenging and enlightening!
My unplugged day started at 9.30am. I had asked David when he got up an hour earlier to wake me after 9. I awoke at 9.15am and lay there waiting for my wake-up call. I snoozed and woke up again fifteen minutes later. Still no wake-up call. I was walking down the stairs to make breakfast when David came out of the living room. ‘Oh you’re up!’
‘Yes, where was my wake-up call?’
‘I didn’t know the time,’ meaning he had been busy playing GTA5! I shook my head! I took my breakfast and a hot cup of black coffee back to bed. It was a Sunday after all! While relaxing, I perused the pages of my paperback of Katherine Mansfield short stories. Though I had to fight the urge to reach out and grab my phone!
To counter the boredom I had moved the household chores from Saturday to today. The opposite was done for my session on the treadmill, which I did on Saturday as I use my laptop for motivational music! At 10.30am I climbed out of bed, got dressed and made a start on the cleaning. I dragged Henry around the house and wiped/disinfected surfaces and floors. The whole task took me three hours, with lunch in-between!
I spent the afternoon in the kitchen. I baked bread, which I shaped in the form of butterflies and made a very healthy, (and tasty) pan of blind scouse, (vegetable stew). I got David to take pictures of the finished article! I really missed my phone for taking pictures!
There wasn’t much opportunity for communing with the wild, as persistent rain arrived in the afternoon. I watched from the kitchen window the birds visiting the freshly filled feeders, of which there were:
2 House Sparrows (males)
1 very disheveled Blue Tit
8 Starlings, (1 was a baby)
I also saw Tree Bumblebees brave the rain to forage from the campanula flowers.
Come evening, I chatted to David while he cooked his lunches for work that week. All day he had been teasing me about not using technology. At one point he even came down the stairs with the laptop, and said ‘aww but you can’t watch!’ Meany! I then relaxed by reading some more Katherine Mansfield stories while enjoying a nice cold glass of pinot grigio.
10pm arrived. I cheered and ‘wooped!’ I had survived a day without a phone or laptop! (It was hard!) A text off my mum was waiting for me saying, ‘welcome back to the technological world!’ It was an enlightening initiative. One I would repeat. I find that technology is so habit forming! It’s so easy to reach out for that mobile device, have information at your fingertips. I do think that it contributes to a general lack of concentration and an inability to face boredom. I already don’t like phones at the dining table. I may encourage David and I to have technology ‘black-holes,’ times when we don’t use phones or computers, in the future.
Did you participate in the day? How did you fill your time?
Day 27: Monday
I felt a bit jaded today. In the afternoon Artie and I popped out into the yarden, to see how the plants were getting on (the lily and passion flower have flowered at last,) and to listen to wild sounds. It also gave me the opportunity to sip in the wild, I indulged in a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit.
I closed my eyes (but not for long as Artie was on the prowl) and could hear the wind rushing through the trees. A plane thrummed overhead. Goldfinches twittered, pigeons cooed, and a family of house sparrows, babies begging, flew onto a roof nearby. The yarden was filled with bees buzzing softly and the dunnock shrilled his song loudly!
Day 28: Tuesday
To end this post I took inspiration from the 30 Days Wild app. Of the 101 ‘random acts of wildness’ I chose look up at the clouds. I actually did this activity yesterday as today the NW of England is shrouded with increasing cloud and the threat of further rain!
Of the clouds gracing the evening sky yesterday, I noticed cirrus (fair weather cloud) and cirrocumulus, (could precursor rain). It shows how contradictory British weather can be!
I really don’t want to mention the EU referendum, the result made me sick to the stomach! However like many, I will make a comment.
At present the air is thick with depression! I avoid the news the best of times, but my Facebook page is full of doom and gloom. It makes one want to reach for the razor blades! But we have to endure, what else is there? (Those razor blades look inviting). We have survived plagues, famine, wars. We will endure this!
Life probably will be tough, for a while, but we will recover, (we have to). Instead of the constant backbiting, we must forego bad blood and look to a future, a future we can only make good if we work hard, together!
There has to be a life outside of the EU. We had one before, there will be one now. Though many of us did not vote to leave, we have to make the most of this decision. Perhaps we can learn from the EU and build a better Britain, with transparent laws, human/worker rights, wildlife protection and a more uniformed distribution of wealth throughout the kingdom? Perhaps I am dreaming, maybe not with this government! I have not followed any of the hype surrounding the referendum. I have felt disgusted that we have been placed in this position! But the unthinkable has happened and we have to deal with it. Not with a culture of blame but one of acceptance and action.
I don’t know why but the whole farce calls to mind a soliloquy in Hamlet. To be or not to be!
Hamlet:To be, or not to be–that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them. To die, to sleep–
No more–and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to. ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep–
To sleep–perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th’ oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely
The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th’ unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprise of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action.
Only two more days until the end of June! Come with me as I approach the finale of 30 Days Wild 2016 and see what wonders I find!