Thursday, March 06, 2014
I decided when I began my weightloss journey to lose in increments of ten pounds at a time and reward myself after each one.
Well, this week saw my seventh reward arrive.
I usually pick something that I want but don't really need as a treat. They weren't meant to be expensive things, just little encouragement gifts and over time I've had things as diverse as a new nail polish, a lobster and even a desk lamp.
This time, more by good luck than good management, I've chosen a dolls house!
Sounds a bit bizarre but I've never had one, not even as a child, and have wanted one since I was a little girl, unfortunately over the years the prices of them have sky rocketed so they were well out of my league but....
Last week, walking past a second hand shop what did I espy...there in the window was a dilapidated looking Lundby dolls house from the fifties and I just had to have it!
Lundby houses are quite expensive so I was expecting it to be dear but it wasn't. The nice man in the shop said it had been reserved by a lady who wanted it as a Christmas gift but she hadn't returned after paying a deposit so he'd have to give her chance to see if she still wanted it. He rang her whilst I was there and told her she had to pay the balance and collect it by monday if she still wanted it. I was to call back in on tuesday and see if she'd collected it or not. If she didn't want it the man would keep it for me.
I was actually outside waiting for the shop to open on tuesday morning as we walked past again on monday evening and it was still in the window!
When I'd told DH about it he'd said he'd buy it for me and I can spend time doing it up.
Sooo, I'm the proud owner of a beautiful but ramshackle old dolls house...and l love it!
My lovely Lundby dolls house, I'm going to enjoy renovating.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Well, the day started off rainy and windy, so windy it was actually buffeting the side of the house and sounding for all the world like a banshee!
'Just my luck' I thought when I'd planned to go on a woodland walk with three friends.
We'd arranged to meet up at quarter to eleven so we could go for lunch together afterwards and wonder of wonders by the time it came to set off the wind had dropped, the rain had stopped and the sun was shining..Wahaaay!
I'd been trying on different waterproofs most of the morning trying to decide what to wear for warmth and dryness but in the end I only needed my fleece and walking boots as the sun was lovely and warm.
We gathered together in a car park ready for the walk, each one of us remarking how different the weather was and commenting how lucky we were. Ruth put it quite succinctly by saying 'The sun always shines on the righteous'...lol...
The walk is in the grounds of a stately home called Burton Agnes Hall. It's a beautiful medieval house with a huge walled garden, open fields and a woodland. The walk encompasses the fields and woodland areas and is open to the public every spring for the annual snowdrop walk.
We rounded the corner of the house to be met with a breathtaking display of white. Thousands of snowdrops nodding their heads in the gentle breeze. It looked like snow!
We meandered through the beech trees, trunks dark and plain or smothered in clinging tendrils of dark green ivy, Here and there carved statues peeped out as us and giant spider webs made of steel were strung from the trees, wooden caterpillars crawled up the trunks and a carved owl gazed at us from an old tree stump.
The path was crunchy with shiny russet beech leaves and here and there yellow aconites with their pale green ruffs shone happily through the leaves creating a patchwork of yellow, gold and white spread across the ground.
But the stars of the show were the snowdrops, pretty pristine white heads on slender green stalks with their leaves standing proud like little lances.
I wrote a poem about it a few years ago, here it is. It was inspired by this same walk.
The heralds of spring.
In the middle of winter the first shoot appears
Lancing the ground like tiny green spears.
Daily they're growing pushing up through the mud
And safe in the middle a delicate bud.
The stalk elongates, the bud bows, so polite
To hang almost shyly 'til the time is just right
For the flower to open, so white and pristine
The edges are picoted a delicate green.
Blown by the north wind they curtsy and dance
The heralds of springtime, the snowdrops all prance.
Here's a few photos of our meander through the woods.
My companions Ruth, Angela and Penny.
We had a lovely lunch afterwards, sitting chatting for almost an hour before coming back home...and the sun is still shining!
Monday, February 17, 2014
Well, I finally got my long walk and a few photos so here's the promised blog.
The weather of late has been absolutely diabolical with gale force winds, torrential rain and foggy, freezing conditions. Every path is either mired in mud or deep puddles of sullen dirty water.
The weathermen reckoned there would be a lull and it came yesterday.
It was glorious...warm sunshine, blue skies and a gentle breeze. Proper spring weather. Oh, it was still pretty chilly in the shade but also a perfect day for a walk...my patient old friend walking boots were just waiting for a day like this, they haven't seen much action of late!
DH drove us out to a nearby nature reserve that offers two different walks.
One is three and a half miles and covers the marshes and lagoons, the other two miles through a woodland area.
Because I haven't walked a lot just lately we agreed to do the shorter walk.
The car park is in the middle of a figure of eight with the walks being the two loops so after parking up we set off on the shorter route which takes you through the woodland area.
The sun was warm on our backs as we left the car park and traversed along the little tracks leading into the wood.
Volunteers were thinning out the undergrowth and the fire they'd lit to burn the brambles glowed red through the trees, the scent of the burning briars was pleasant as the blue-grey smoke rose high into the canopy.
Blue tits were serenading us and a robin trilled his little heart out from a lofty perch in an old and gnarled ash tree, turning his head this way and that as his bright red chest glowed out like a beacon.
Pretty pinky collared doves adorned another ash, seven of them sitting in the bare branches like little ornaments on a Christmas tree.
Entering the wood the dappled shade made patterns across the path.
It was beautiful, the snowdrops, those hardy little winter flowers, were out in abundance dotting the woodland with their pristine white nodding heads and here and there the aconites grew with them making a gold and white patchwork carpet spread beneath the tree's bare branches.
I always think it's a shame they don't smell stronger than they do , it would be so nice to walk through them and imbibe their scent as well as see their beauty.
Catkins adorned the delicate birch trees, yellow lamb's tails swaying in the gentle breeze.
Overhead skeins of greylag geese were making their way onto the reservoir, we could hear them 'talking' to each other as they wiffled to splash down.
The reservoirs are the main breeding area for birds and the water company has allowed the sites to be used as a reserve adding marshy areas and lagoons to attract the wildlife.
Little clumps of bright green mosses lined the path edges, they glowed in the sunlight and looked for all the world like miniature green flowers...so pretty.
A grey squirrel foraged in the undergrowth on the woodland floor, scampering along his tail held high and little earthy brown rabbits nosed their way beneath the trees ever ready to disappear down their holes if we got too close.
Deer slots showed in the muddy edges, two little deep slots to each foot but we never caught sight of them even though the tracks looked fresh.
The little pond in the clearing was surrounded by last year's vegetation though some of the phragmites phragmites reeds were still sporting their feathery, if a little faded, head dresses. They looked so pretty against the bright blue of the sky.
The wardens have hung feeders in the trees, we saw blue tits, black caps, goldfinch and chaffinches but they don't hang about for long so it was hard to get a photo as they disappeared in a blur of colour.
The sun peeped through the spidery tracery of the trees and settled across the surface of the ponds, glinting over the reservoirs in a magnificent golden sheen.
We sat on the sturdy wooden benches that are dotted throughout the trees, keeping quiet and listening to the bird calls...a chiff chaff sang his repetitive song over and over, blue tits chirruped noisily and blackbirds uttered their distinctive alarm calls as we disturbed their quiet.
We met with other birders, quietly passing the time of day and exchanging information on what we and they and seen, where to go and what to look out for.
Eventually we arrived back at the car park, for a sandwich and a welcome hot drink, and answered the call of nature in the information centre facilities.
DH jokingly said 'Shall we do the other loop now' and was surprised when I said 'Yes'.
I felt so well, invigorated and happy to be out in the fresh air, my knee didn't hurt, my chest wasn't tight and I was raring to go...so go we did!
The second walk is longer with willow fringed marshy areas leading to the lagoons where the geese and swans gather. Instead of a wander through a wood you walk through a wide open expanse of grassland, past marshes and through a pine forested area to the ponds.
The grass was long and areas of it were flooded, not deep but very squelchy and wet. Luckily our trusty waterproof walking boots took it all in their stride as we made our way past the marshy bits into the pines.
The light was gone as soon as we entered, the tall trees standing sentinel to the lagoons filtered the sunlight out and the forest floor was dry and scrunchy as the rain couldn't permeate the denseness of their branches.
It was so still and quiet you could have heard a pin drop, no birds sang and we were pleased when we passed through.
The light across the marshes was beautiful, the noise of the geese flocks was raucous as they greeted each other as yet more wiffled in to land.
Mute swans flew in too, little family groups of three or four at a time, honking their arrival as they splashed down, splayed feet sliding across the water's surface 'til they came to rest all dishevelled on the water. They rose up, flapped their wings, shook their feathers out and transformed themselves into the beautiful placid shapes we're used to seeing.
Curlews called, their haunting cry ringing out across the water and little terns screeched and scried as they noisily dipped and dived amongst the reeds.
Cormorants lined an old ash tree, spreading their wings in the classic pose as they staked their claim to a branch for the night.
The sun was sinking behind the horizon as we left the hide, still a mile or so to walk back and the chill in the air was noticeable as the sun disappeared. Arriving back at the car park we found we were the last to leave, even the warden had locked up and left!
I really enjoyed it and even though today is cold, windy and foggy I went for another walk around our village but half way round I remembered where my camera was...on the sideboard...not much use there and the eerie looking trees emerging out of the mist would have made a lovely picture...Oh! well, it wasn't to be and guess what, it's now raining again!
snowdrops under the trees
a gold and white carpet of snowdrops and aconites
a foraging grey squirrel
pretty moss like little green flowers
one of the ponds surrounded by dead vegetation
the ubiquitous phragmites phragmites
a pretty little bluetit on the feeders
brave little snowdrop flowers
a woodland pond in the sunshine
sunlight glints across the surface of the reservoir
mute swans coming in to land
mute swans feeding
Thursday, January 09, 2014
Seems ages since I've blogged what with one thing and another...mainly my eleven year old computer which was so slow it was almost at stop and didn't like to upload photos either...very frustrating!!
Well, Father Christmas brought me a nice new computer and I now hope to get back to Sparking again.
Still no photos or nice descriptive walks for you though as I haven't been getting about much through a combination of a broken knee, arthritis and bronchitis.
Soon, very soon I hope.
I'm just back from seeing the bone lady at the hospital and everything is progressing well with my knee. (For those of you who don't know I've had a broken kneecap which had reattached it's self wrongly and had to be removed and replaced correctly)
There's still a bit of grating in the joint and one of the muscles is still tight so I'm to keep on with my exercises.
I do them five times a day for ten minutes each time and I've now got to the stage where I can bend my knee to a right angle, straighten and lock it when standing and straighten, lift and hold to a count of forty when lying.
I can go upstairs and downstairs properly instead of two feet on each step like I have been doing and she says I can now begin building up my outdoor walking again.
It's much harder on uneven surfaces so I need to try different ones, like walking on grass, country lanes etc.
Having bronchitis at the moment plus the gale force winds and torrential rain we've got I can't see it being this week and maybe not next week either but eventually I aim to walk outside every day until I'm back up to my ten thousand steps I used to do.
I've still got knee strengthening exercises to do five times a day and physio to attend so, hopefully, it won't be too long before I'm happily walking & birding with my DH.
I've also been measured for an ultra thin gel half insole for my shoe to correct a roll in my heel which compensates my walk putting pressure on the ankle which in turn compensates the knee and then that compensates my hip and back so if I persevere with it I should get rid of any pain down my right side...I have it fitted next thursday, can't wait!
I've also had steroid injections into my knee for the arthritis, so I've no pain at all now which is wonderful.
On top of all this my psoriasis is very bad so I'm doing a three hour round trip to hospital three times a week for phototherapy session for the next three months at least. It's already beginning to feel a little better which is nice as it can be very painful and sore.
Anyway Peeps, hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year and I hope to be online more than I was from now on.
I rejoined Slimming World on Tuesday too and hope to start showing some weightless again now the initial big loss of coming off the sweeteners is over.
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