Thursday 25 February 2021

Throwback Thursday...


One of the things I’ve been dipping into doing over the past 11 months is going over old albums of photos from the backup drives and checking for any new stuff to process from them. There can be all sorts of reasons why I find previously unprocessed stuff - sometimes in the busiest patch of the airshow season all I get time to do is download the shots, and pick out a handful of particular favourites to process. Sometimes I only get to the shots that I know someone is particularly waiting for or will be interested in. And sometimes it is as simple as, for whatever reason the show didn’t altogether grab me as much as it might - perhaps because the sky wasn’t great. 

That last is the only reason I can think of for the album I got to today having been neglected as the first thing ai discovered was a whole load more photos of the Shuttleworth and Aircraft Restoration Company Westland Lysanders flying together - for me without question one of the aviation highlights of 2019. The Lysander is a favourite aircraft of mine anyway - I do always like the underdog, and this aircraft is without doubt one of the most under-acknowledged heroes of WW2. Used among other things for the dropping off and collection of SOE agents in occupied France, an incredibly dangerous task, and one that many Lysanders were lost carrying out, it’s very possible that the war could have turned out rather differently without their input. 

I’ll be posting some more of the “new” photos on my Instagram over the next little while, and ai’m rather interested to see what else I might find in that album now, too! 


Wednesday 24 February 2021

More walking...

The spring-like weather has continued through the first part of the week - my walks yesterday and today have been in glorious sunshine and within just a couple of miles done each day I’ve been too warm in my coat. 

I love this point in the year when you first get that optimistic feeling that the seasons are changing - it also tends to mean the most wonderful clouds too - the shots above and below were taken yesterday, I just kept finding myself stopping to stare at the sky - amazing! 

I’m doing nicely with my February walking mileage target - with just under 17 miles to go to hit 170 miles tracked walking this month. That’s the highest target I’ve set myself - although I have hit slightly higher totals without a target set in the past. A reasonable distance walked this week will also mean a good start to my latest challenge - the RAF Museum Lancaster Challenge. This one launched in early January, and runs through to Mid May - but typically of me I have wasted best part of six weeks not getting around to registering.  It comes with three distance options - the longest of which is 500km - so naturally that’s where I’ve committed... I’ll be walking this one, although it would be nice to think I could incorporate some running in there too as and when the injury allows, and I have also opted to seek sponsorship his time too - the first time I’ve done one of these challenges with fundraising. If anyone reading should want to sponsor me then there is a JuatGiving page you can go to - - and it goes without saying that I will be extremely grateful for anything you could pledge! 


Sunday 21 February 2021

Signs of spring...


After several weeks of freezing temperatures, icy pavements in the mornings, and even a little bit of snow, it’s finally warming up. Today was a balmy 13°C and with the sun out at times it felt absolutely glorious after what has felt at times like a really long winter! 

Outside this morning we noticed that some of the crocuses we planted years ago were showing their faces - a beautiful flash of colour in the grass. Then on our walk this afternoon we saw the first Blackthorn blossom of the year, and also Celandines - traditionally one of the first wildflowers that appear each year - absolutely everywhere! 

We’re also seeing - and hearing - masses more birds. Our local Blue Tits have clearly paired off - and my suspicion is that the two Robins we see regularly on the feeders - nicknamed White-flash for the white wing feather, and Flappy Robin (struggles to balance in the feeder without using one wing for balance!) are a pair too, and are nesting in the bushes just across from us. We’re also seeing a pair of Red Kites around a lot which is fantastic - we have seen an occasional one around for a few years now but it looks like these two have settled in. I managed to get some photos of them flying a few days ago so I’ll do another post with some of those at some stage. 

Today’s walk was a favourite route of ours - along the river. The light was wonderful and the reflection of the trees in the water really rather beautiful.  Also rather beautiful is the way the days are lengthening now - we got back from our walk today in broad daylight at 5pm, and there is still an appreciable amount of daylight in the sky an hour later than that, too. I always forget, from year to year, how special that first proper glimpse of Spring on the way feels! 


Sunday 7 February 2021

This week...


First snowdrops of the year!

The second week of my jury service, and due to a lack of trials I was released on Tuesday. Happy to have been selected at all, but also happy in the circumstances not to have been required to actually sit on a jury. 

A reasonable amount more walking this week - another 36.5 miles in fact which added to my January total takes me over the amount needed for my virtual Thames Path challenge. Evidence is now submitted for that one and it’s time to think about the next thing...! I also completed 3 strength workouts through the week, and lots more yoga - to which I may even be completely converted! They say it takes 28 days to make a habit, and perhaps coincidentally, or perhaps not, it was when doing day 28 of my yoga challenge this evening that I suddenly found myself getting into a pose which a month ago I could not even have got close to - that felt like a real breakthrough! I have 2 more days of the current challenge to do, and then I’ll be looking for more options to move on to. 

It feels like we are also making solid progress on our path through the freezers now too, and this weeks meals will make more impact there as well, although some of the r rains of today’s roast chicken will also probably be making their way in there before being used over the next few weeks. On a freezing cold day with snow drifting down outside though as it was today that full roast dinner really ticked all the boxes! 

Possibly the biggest things this week was that we decided to take a leap of faith and book a week away for a little later in the year. There IS a risk that we still won’t be able to travel by that stage, but we’re hoping that it will be far enough into the spring that things will have begun to be relaxed enough to allow it. MrEH has a lot of holiday time to use this year, and I will have some spare on normal as well due to the cancellation of the Great British Beer Festival for the second year on the trot - so we decided that something to look forward to was definitely the order of the day. 

Aims for the coming week - more walking of course, plus strength work and of course yoga/stretching! I’m tempted to try another dance type workout too as those can be fun - and surprisingly hard work! I also want to continue rehabbing my foot - I’ve had several days in the last week completely pain-free when walking, and I’m hopeful that another week might see my able to start back running again - fingers crossed! I also want to get out with the camera at least once - it’s a shame to see it just sitting in the bag so much at the moment, and there seems little prospect of being able to use it for aviation photos any time soon. The other main thing is to get back to regular survey work again - I’m keen to see how much I can make to supplement the regular payments to my 0% interest credit card, but motivation has been lacking more than it should, of late. 

Plenty to be going on with, anyway! 


Friday 5 February 2021

Willing to be wrong...


Sometimes, on all sorts of things, as you gain more knowledge and experience, you come to realise that some of your earlier preconceptions were vast oversimplifications, or in some cases just plain wrong. I’ve had recent experience of this with - of all things - yoga! As I mentioned before, I decided that being unable to run for the last few weeks gave me the perfect opportunity to focus on strength work and stretching/flexibility, and one facet of this was to embark on a 30 day yoga challenge. 

I’ve seen people doing these Yoga With Adriene challenges before, and have even had a go at some of her practises myself, but just couldn’t get to grips with it. I found myself constantly unable to follow her cues, not knowing what any of the poses were, I spent half the workout twisting round trying to see the screen I had the workout on, and it just didn’t feel like something that was for me at all. I’d go as far as to say I ended the experience feeling more stressed than I started - not really the desired outcome for yoga! 

This time round things have been a bit different. Whether the challenge is more specifically aimed at those who may be quite new to practising yoga, whether I have enough additional knowledge now to make the cues easier to follow, or what, I have no idea, but after a slightly sceptical first few days I was surprised to REALLY take to it! I found quite early on that I was finding it far easier to get into some poses that I had previously struggled with, and certainly as the days have ticked by this has become even more true. I’m still struggling with some of the “sit still and do nothing” bits - but even that is getting easier over time. How easy it will be to keep up regular yoga practise time without a challenge of his sort to act as incentive, I don’t yet know, but I believe there are other challenges online that I can do first to help with building it as more of a habit. 

Hands up, right here - yoga IS for me, after all! 


Wednesday 3 February 2021

Short and sweet...


Well, that’s my jury service done and dusted! I attended last week one day which only ended up being the induction before we were all dismissed for the day - as I said in an earlier post. I thought I was returning the following day for a case, but got a call a couple of hours ahead to say that case had collapsed also! Then Monday saw another trip to the court - this time we got as far as jury selection but my name was not among the 12 called out, and so an hour after arriving it was back home again! Then yesterday afternoon saw a call from the jury officer to say that they were in a position to dismiss week 2 jurors. I did have the option to extend for another week - but due to the nature of the trials (both possibles were longer ones, and  the “subject matter” was mentioned as part of the brief summary description) I have declined unless they are really short on numbers. Allowing for how badly my coroners court experience 14 years ago affected me, I felt that probably I was not in the right place mentally to put myself through another “heavy” experience. Thankfully, Coroners experience plus being on my second stint of jury service does carry some weight in this instance and the lovely jury officer said that on that basis she was releasing me from service. 

I’m glad to have been called again - partly because the timing was ideal with my furlough, and partly because it did mean that for a couple of days at least I got to go out, interact with other people, and actually feel a bit more sense of purpose. I feel almost as though it “reset” me a bit in some ways - perhaps because it coincided with the god-awful scaffolding being removed from the outside of the building here, and also that the evenings are now very distinctly starting to draw out. Either way, things suddenly seem to be brighter and rather easier to cope with. 

I also seized the chance for a short walk to kill some time before I was due to be at the court on Monday - a little way along the river, and past the rather fantastic war memorial garden as you can see from the photos. Clearly a lot of thought has gone into its planning - from the rather beautiful benches, to the woven sculpture of the soldier. Admittedly the backdrop of retail units isn’t the best, but it’s still a good effort. 

So now, life returns to what currently passes for normal in this weird situation we still find ourselves dealing with. We’re now starting to tick off the “one year since” milestones here in the U.K. This time last year we were just starting to truly understand what we might be dealing with, although the sheer scale of it certainly took us all by surprise.