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!
Day Three: Today’s photo prompt is snow. Since it very rarely snows in Liverpool, I decided to stretch the meaning a little and post a picture of a snow-man. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the timeless storybook, The Snowman by Raymond Briggs, Manchester commissioned 12 snowman statues. The trail of about three miles traverses around Salford’s Media City.
We visited on a wet, gloomy day, but it didn’t detract for the fun we had looking for all 12 snowmen. Twelve Drummers Drumming was one of my favourite.
Have you visited Manchester? What were your impressions?
My love for Wild in Art trails comes as no surprise, given the amount of art trials I have seen in past years. You can read about my colourful celebration of such art trails here. This year is no exception. I await (in)patiently for Manchester’s Bee in the City. It was seeing their Cow Parade in 2004 that started all this mad cap trail following!
At present Nottingham have a fun take on the Robin Hood connection to the city with their Hoodwinked trail. 33 colourful robin statues bring a splash of colour to the streets. The trail runs until 30th September 2018.
David and I drove the 2.5 (ish) hours from Liverpool to take in a visit. We parked at the Trinity Square car park, which at £4.40 for up to two hours I felt was a little steep. The city is compact and easy to navigate. A friendly gentleman offered us tips on how find all the robins, though we were only on a whistle stop tour. We managed to find 17 robins out of the 33, not bad for an hour and a half walking. Below is a collage of some of the robins we found!
Captain Jack Robin
Robin Hood and Christine
Green Man of Sherwood Forest
I was happy to see that it was people of all ages who were looking out for the robins. It was nice to visit a city I have not been to previously, and would probably visit again if there’s another trail.
Have you visited Nottingham? What were your thoughts?
We decided to lunch at Sherwood Forest. How can we visit Nottingham without taking in the forest associated with Robin Hood? So we drove the 40 minutes from Nottingham to Sherwood Forest, where we paid a reasonable £3.00 for all day parking.
Robin Hood and Little John
Sherwood Forest, though reduced by deforestation, housed some striking looking trees. We luncheoned surrounded by many oak trees and visited the Major Oak. Estimated at around 1,500 years old, it looked I thought, not much older than the Allerton Oak at Calderstones Park! We only spent an hour at the forest before we headed on our long journey home. There were many walking trails for visitors with more time. I would have liked to have walked further into the forest.
Have you visited Sherwood Forest? What were your impressions?
I did a similar post looking forward to the new year of 2017, so I thought I would follow the trend and do a 2018 one too! There’s so much I have already booked for the new year! If all goes to plan 2018 is measuring up to be one wonderful year!! Here’s what’s to come in the year ahead.
Of the many events already filling up the new calendar are two concerts to see the Liverpool Philharmonic in action.
Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Recently whilst in town, I walked past a billboard advertising the return of a short run of Khaled Hossieni’s The Kite Runner at the Liverpool Playhouse. After reading the book and missing the first run of this acclaimed play, I just had to book tickets this time around.
The Kite Runner
Terracotta Army – World Museum Liverpool
Another much anticipated event happening in Liverpool in 2018 is the ticketed China’s First Emperor exhibition. Highlighting artifacts from the emperor’s spectacular tomb.
2018 is measuring up to be a fantastic year for street art trails. Here are just some of the Wild in Art trails I hope to visit.
Bee in the City
We have visited the lovely city of Norwich in the past, to see their gorillas and dragon trails. From the 24th June to the 8th September 2018, the city’s streets will be graced by colorful hares in their, GoGo Hares trail.
Nottingham have an imaginative trail called Hoodwinked, this year. The sculptures in the shape of robins are an inspiring take on the Robin Hood name! I can’t wait to see them!
Also, Manchester has a swarm of bees hitting the streets this summer in Bee in the City.
These are just a few Wild in Art trails happening in 2018. Will you be going see any of them?
30 Day Wild
A Year in Books
This year I will carry on with initiatives such as:
Recently I met up with the lady I work with, Sue and her new guide dog, Kallie for lunch in Liverpool. With both of us not being ‘girls about town’ we were scratching our heads as to where to go for lunch. I know there are a myriad of places to visit but I was after somewhere were you weren’t turfed out after about an hour. Then I recalled an independent tea shop and restaurant in Bold Street, Leaf. I remembered visiting with a student of mine, now friend, years ago. I searched my blog and found that the visit was three years ago! How time flies!!
We visited Leaf at probably the most busiest time of day, 12 noon. The restaurant covers two floors with stages for live bands. The furniture is made up of an eclectic mix of wooden tables, picnic tables, leather sofas, arm chairs and plastic canteen chairs. Drapes cover the walls in a building that was once a tea shop, cinema, then clothes shop.
We were advised by one of the friendly staff that there were more tables upstairs which was less busy at that time. So we hit the button on the lift and made our way to the 1st floor.
At no point was the presence of Kallie an issue. A firm reminder to less welcoming establishments of Guide Dogs for the blind’s Access all Areas campaign.
We chose a table in the corner, where there was lots of natural light coming from the tall art deco styled windows. The first floor felt light and airy. There was a relaxed feel to the place, which I also got the first time I visited. Service was top notch. There were complaints in that area (nor any other for that matter). Our order for drinks and food was taken at the table, though you can opt to order at the bar.
There is a varied choice of lose leaf tea available. Sue chose the English Breakfast Tea and I the Ceylon. We both ordered for lunch the Pepper and Tomato Soup, which we did not have to wait too long for.
Where there’s tea, there’s hope.
Pepper and Tomato Soup
The soup was delicious, warming and of good proportion, it was served with a slice of focaccia bread. It also stayed warm for over half an hour as we took our time chatting and catching up. The Ceylon tea was aromatic and better served with no milk, much like the Darjeeling at Jam.
After about an hour we decided to prolong our stay and ordered a Leaf Cream Tea which consisted of another pot of tea (of your choice) and a scone, with clotted cream and jam. At £5.95 I thought was good value. The pots of tea filled three small cups. In total we had six small cups each! It was a very wet, caffeine filled afternoon!
Leaf Cream Tea
I liked the presentation of the cream tea and the scone was ‘huge’! I went home feeling very full!
In all we spent three and a half hours at leaf and not once did we feel the need to vacate our table. The service was friendly and approachable and the meals were value for money.
I would definitely visit Leaf for lunch again in the future.
Have you had a meal at Leaf? They have restaurants in Liverpool and Manchester. What was your experience like?
I was inspired to write this post after visiting Sheffield’s herd of elephants and writing about it in my Sunday Sevens #15. Mark at worldwarzoogardener1939 commented that Paignton Zoo are doing a trail with rhinos and Marwell Zoo have Zany Zebras gracing the streets of Southampton this summer! I would love to visit them all but 2016 seems to be the busiest year regarding animal street art in the UK! One of the biggest promoters of these events is Wild in Art, check out their website for past and future events.
Over the past eight years David and I have been lucky enough to visit a fair amount of trails, stretching as far north as Aberdeen, to Norwich in the east! My first encounter with these colourful animals was the Manchester Cow Parade in 2004. Since then there has been an explosion of animals gracing the cities and towns of the UK. From lions in Bournemouth to horses in Hamilton. Below is a selection of the trails we have seen. Enjoy!
2008 was the year of Liverpool’sCapital of Culture. During the summer, 120 6ft lambananasgraced the city’s streets. I have fond memories of seeking each and every one of them out, there was even one atop Moel Famau in North Wales!
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The winter of 2009 saw 135 5ft penguins bring cheer to the cold streets of Liverpool, St Helens and the Wirral. I don’t think they were as successful as the lambananas the previous year, even David seemed jaded in seeing them all. However I managed to capture them all on camera and even a few months after the auction date, acquired one for myself. A hint of madness but our home wouldn’t be the same without Snowy standing sentinel under the stairs!
Staying in the North West, Chester in 2010 had a herd of rhinos career through their streets.
Also in 2010, Skipton found they had a flock of sheep bringing cheer to their town…
..and we visited Newport for the first of their two Super Dragon trails.
2011 saw two very diverse trails. The first was in Congleton where a sleuth of bears had taken up residence.
The second was in Edinburgh, where the city was transformed into a jungle for the summer.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
In 2012 it looked like David and I never visited any art trails, though in fairness we did buy our first house!
2013, looked more promising! My appetite was reawakened when I saw some of the LindtEaster eggs. You can read my post here.
The summer of 2013 saw us visiting a spate of trails. We visited Manchester for the national tour of the Elephant Parade. Read my post here.
2014 saw David and I take a tour to Aberdeen, Scotland to see their pod of dolphins in torrential rain! Read my post here.
2015 saw us returning to Norwich to see their Go Go Dragons trail. I am always impressed with the quality of art from this city! I look forward to seeing what their hares look like in 2017!
Also in 2015 Liverpool had their celebration of ducks which commemorated the history of the city.
While Birmingham witnessed a parliament of owls in their Big Hoot!
As I’ve said previously 2016 will see more trails than ever before. There are pigs inIpswich,snowdogs in Brighton and Hove and Newcastle and Tyne and Wear, and lions in Paisley. That is just to name a few! Sheffield’s herd of elephants are on the streets until 5th October when they will be auctioned off for charity like most of the above. They are a great way of getting the public behind a charitable cause and can raise hundreds of pounds!
Have you seen/followed any animal sculpture trail? What do you think of the initiative? What kind of animal would you like turned into art next?
I first realised the music of Hans Zimmer in The Lion King (1994), the soundtrack earned him his Oscar! I didn’t care much for the songs of Elton John but the orchestrated pieces were breathtaking. He managed to convey all the emotions in the film; love, terror, heartbreak and joy. Listening to Stampede, if you close your eyes you can imagine the buffaloes bearing down on Simba.
Over the years, I have accumulated many of his soundtracks. Fan based videos on YouTube are a great source to go to, as well as Wikipedia and Amazon. I could list all of his soundtracks, but I won’t. You can read more here.
Biography search results suggest that during his early career, as well as writing themes for BBC TV shows, (Going for Gold being one of them), he produced and featured briefly in the video of The Buggles’s number one hit single, Video Killed the Radio Star (1979) which was a theme from my early childhood. So even though I was not aware of Hans Zimmer as a composer, his music contributed to the soundtrack of my 80’s.
In 2001 he received great acclaim for his soundtrack to Gladiator. I was a little slow on the uptake but since then most of my free time has been filled with the music of Hans Zimmer. For me, he seems to be the go to composer whether you want to be energised as in the rollicking tracks of Inception or to have a good cry, the music from The Dark Knight Rises seems to hit a particular cord with me.
No other living composers music has had such a profound effect on me as does Hans Zimmer’s. So imagine my excitement when his Live on Tourwas advertised last year! For many years, it has been a dream of mine to see the music of Hans Zimmer being performed by a live orchestra, but for the man himself to be performing on stage also is something I never comprehended.
In London two years ago Hans Zimmer did ‘trial’ arena shows because he didn’t believe ‘anybody would actually show up’. I was tempted to go but the cost, not just of the tickets but of travelling and accommodation put me off. So last year on the day tickets were released I eagerly snapped up a couple for the Birmingham date. It may have cost a small fortune but to have a dream come true, it was worth it! A month later I was reeling as they released a new date in Manchester, but that is by the by. Birmingham it would be!
April 12th 2016: Being my nosy, inquisitive self I already knew what to expect come the day of the concert. I was looking forward to One Day from Pirates of the Caribbean and The Dark Knight medley.
The Barclaycard Arena was relatively easy to get to by car but due to certain roads being closed in major roadworks we left with plenty of time. Inside we were subjected to bags being searched and the boys being frisked! Once finally past security, I bought my programme which was £10, in London it had been £15! Then went in search for our uncomfy seats.
We sat in eager suspense for 40 minutes, then the lights in the arena dimmed and an excited hush murmured from the crowd. Hans Zimmer, his guests and a 70 piece orchestra took to the stage just after 8pm, even though there were still a lot of empty spaces in the audience. People were still being shown to their seats while the choir sang 160BPM from Angels and Demons, which irked me somewhat. I took some pictures but they weren’t very good. I wish I had taken my camcorder but didn’t know whether photography was allowed.
What I like about Hans Zimmer is that he collaborates with (and mentors) people from diverse musical backgrounds and this concert was no different. It felt more like an ensemble production rather than a one man show.
The first set went too fast! I almost blinked and missed it! It was wonderful to hear so many favourite themes. We were entertained by Gladiator, Czarina Russell sung it so beautifully. The Lion King performed by Lebo M made everyone teary and Tina Guo flicked her hair as much as she did the bow across her cello for the Pirates of the Caribbean medley. The sound was impeccable, not ear tingling as in some concerts, and the lighting was inventful, in the second half of the show it became more akin to a rock concert!
There was a 20 minute interval. We went to stretch our legs before the darker second set began, which was filled with superheroes, inhuman guitar riffs and drums that reverberated through your body.
Even though at times there was a lot of bombast, the quieter moments where Hans Zimmer talked anecdotally about his career were more intimate, even in a big arena space.
The Dark Knight medley did not disappoint. I sat through it tapping my feet and grinning, much like the Joker. I felt bereft when Interstellar pipped up. I knew that the show was drawing to a close. As the final triumphant bars of Stay vibrated around the arena, Hans Zimmer stood conducting from the front. The note faded and he took a bow as everyone in the audience stood to their feet. Some of us stayed standing knowing that he would come back onto the stage for an encore. I was surprised that quite a few people left before he came back to perform the medley from Inception. ‘Fools,’ I thought as Mombasa lit up the stage like a rave. The night ended with Time. If there was a piece of music that was written to describe the human condition, then Time would be it! Heart-achingly painful and yet so brief. The night ended on the wave of Hans Zimmer’s hand and the audience standing to its feet once again.
There are moments in life when I wish I could push the rewind button and relive the experience again and again. This concert was exactly like that, if I had a fairy godmother I would suggest Manchester! :p However I will just have to make do with watching the videos I took and others like them on YouTube. I hope you enjoy the concert compilation I have mixed below and any feedback is appreciated.
In the future, I look forward to Hans Zimmer’s next installment for the Ron Howard film, Dan Brown’s Inferno. I wonder if it will be just as good as his Da Vinci Code soundtrack?
I will end the post with Hans Zimmer’s own words taken from the concert programme. I found them very profound.
‘Concerts are in real time…I get to be…part of you; and you be a part of me. Only in this very moment does this exist. We’re lucky, in these tumultuous and violent times, to have art and music to lean upon and unite us. At this very moment it is at its most essential. It breaks through the boundaries…and just allows us to be people united in common enjoyment and pleasure for a few precious hours. My hope is that tonight my music speaks to you personally, wherever you are in your unique story.’
On Friday I met up with my student, Rachel who I have worked with for three years. She is moving to Manchester and going to finish her degree at Manchester University. I thought I would be sad to have our last coffee/tea but the day was nice. After meeting up in Costa and I having a cappuccino and toasted tea cake, we headed into town and to Leaf, a tea shop in Liverpool! I had not been there before and the cafe/restaurant was very bohemian. The tea we ordered came in neat little pots and it was nice to see fresh ingredients being used.
I had a migraine all evening, probably with all the caffeine. lol
Saturday and David has been working all day on putting his TV on the chimney breast. No DIY job goes smoothly in a 1901 house!!
In the garden. My Azalea is looking wonderful and David’s Acer is sprouting back to life!
For the evening dinner I decided to dress up for the curry we had, and in the garden David took a picture. Do I look like a nymph or an alien??
Footage of Christine and David’s 2013. Featuring Chester Zoo, Norwich, Manchester, Colchester, Liverpool and Sheffield. With more DIY on the new house, visiting GoGo Gorillas and Stand Tall Giraffes and meeting Jonathan Firth (the actor) in Sheffield. Seeing lots of films at the cinema, the Liverpool Philharmonic at Sefton Park and Walking with Dinosaurs at the Echo arena! 2013 has been a roller coaster of a year!!!