Showing posts with label Walks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Walks. Show all posts

Monday, 13 February 2017

Sussex and Silence

Silence.  Not always golden, but sometimes there seems nothing much to say.  

2017 did not get off to the best start for me, with the sad news that an old friend had died after three years on the rollercoaster that is cancer.  Someone very special to us as it was through his family that I met my husband, and someone whose life has threaded through mine for well over a decade now.  At 64, he was too young to die and had so much to live for.  A beautiful, loving wife and four children in their 20s. Children whose weddings he will never attend, grandchildren he will never hold and cherish, although his very close family will always hold him in their hearts.

Then there have been the usual winter bugs which strike and refuse to move on for weeks and which are still lingering now, but with the longer days and brighter sunshine (on the days we emerge from under the grey umbrella which dominates here in winter), I too am feeling brighter and hopefully recovering some of my lost energy.  But I feel I have lost the last few weeks and have spent most of them hibernating (and comforting myself with lots of Hygge and box sets) with only essential exeats. 

We did manage a trip to Sussex for the funeral, and we stayed on for a couple of days in sub-zero temperatures, enjoying an invigorating walk on Camber Sands watching the light bounce off the cold, clear water, followed by a whistle-stop tour of the ancient Cinque Port town of Rye, taking time to admire the beautiful 12th century Church of St Mary the Virgin, before driving home through the frost-bound countryside. 

How has 2017 been for you so far?  What do you have planned this year and are you longing, like me, for Spring to arrive?

Camber Sands

Beach houses, Camber Sands

Mermaid Street, Rye

St Mary the Virgin, Rye

Stained glass, St Mary the Virgin, Rye

Friday, 18 November 2016

Woodland Walk

There is a perfect moment each Autumn, when the trees are hanging onto the last of their leaves before the storms strip them bare for the winter...

... a secret place for two lively dogs to explore

This wet little dog has never seen Autumn before but he had no trouble finding the stream at the bottom of the valley

We are so lucky to have this ancient woodland just a few minutes walk from our home and usually have it all to ourselves, apart from bluebell time when it is full of families enjoying picnics and making dens.  We tend to avoid the woods then as the dogs don't take kindly to being walked on a leash and are strangely unwelcome, storming through someone's idyllic picnic!

Friday, 29 January 2016

... of Puppies and Frosty Morning Walks

Life changing moments don't always announce themselves with a great fanfare.  A week ago, as I took an early morning walk with my camera, enchanted by the hoar frost which had transformed the mundane into the magical, I wasn't thinking of acquiring another dog just yet, if at all. 

Somewhere in my head, these last 30 years or so, I have carried a picture of two dogs, one black, one blond, sharing my life and although over the years I have usually had one dog to accompany me on my walks, two seemed an impossible dream; time, space, money, practical considerations all held me back.  

So when my sister-in-law phoned me to tell me about her new puppy, a working cocker cross, with brothers and sisters waiting for their forever homes, I really tried hard to say no.  Taking on another dog, rather like having another child, is a massive commitment and there is rarely a perfect moment, but she convinced me that this was a litter worth looking at, both parents living in a home environment and the puppies being raised in the house with children, all beautiful, healthy and well balanced. 

I think the point of no return came when I picked up the phone just to have a chat with the breeder and found myself making an appointment to visit.  My husband was no help at all and frankly encouraged me in achieving this long held dream and somehow we went from 'shall we have another dog' to 'which puppy shall we choose'? (actually, he chose us).  After all, if not now, when?  Crazy I know but we will find a way to make it work and still have our freedom too.  After all, if you have one dog, how much more of a problem can two be?  No doubt we shall find out, but we are committed now and delighted to welcome Oskar to our family.

Are you a pet lover?  Would you have been sensible, or like me, would you have followed your heart?

and some frosty Suffolk village scenes...

Friday, 8 January 2016

Time to Commit

Walking alone today on a rare clear, sunny but very cold winter's day, with our young yellow Labrador, was a good opportunity for contemplation as another year begins its cycle.  Christmas already seems a distant memory as our lovely tree stands naked, propped against the brown bin, waiting to be recycled, which is the best we can offer in return for bringing a little magic into our home.  I do hate putting Christmas away and yet there is something liberating about the space created.  The almost empty calendar is pinned up in the kitchen waiting to be filled with whatever form our lives will take this year, a blank page waiting for its fill of the special and not so special occasions which make up a life.  

Last year was a very special year as we finally celebrated our marriage and also witnessed my youngest stepson marry his girlfriend of the last eight years.  There was, sadly, my father-in-law's funeral, attended by most of his steadily increasing family - a fine testament to his life but a sad loss to those who knew him. There is another big family wedding already booked in for June this year, my step-daughter, and another engagement has just been announced.  Perhaps there will be more grandchildren soon - an empty nest and no grandchild of my own yet is both an opportunity and a vacuum.

But, as I walked through the empty Suffolk countryside this morning, what was really on my mind was the need to commit.  Our house has been on and off the market for most of the last two years as we try and work out how it is we want to live, what is important to us, what is possible and what is just an impossible dream. Moving to Suffolk over 6 years ago, after more than 20 years living and raising my children on the Kent/Sussex border, has been a mixed experience and I have struggled to settle here.  

We have come to love this strange, relatively empty and unspoilt county with its huge skies and stunning coast line, which we were lucky enough to explore on our boat when we kept it here.  The rivers are beautiful and we appreciate the sense of space, the beautifully painted houses, the ancient towns and villages which nestle in the valleys and the warmth and friendliness of the people who make their lives here.  What I have missed, though, are the deep connections I formed during those years of school runs, plays, matches, parents' evenings, putting down deep roots in a community which takes a long time.  So, for over a year, we have really explored the possibility of going back to Kent/East Sussex and have spent a lot of time visiting the area, catching up with old friends, trying to decide if this is a real possibility or if life has just moved on too far, whether we are just chasing a dream and letting go of something that has real value to us here.  

The Stour
The Orwell at Pin Mill
Butt & Oyster
Ponies at Pin Mill
 There are, of course, options three and four! Renting out our house and renting another, almost anywhere, for a year and really shaking things up.  The Ari├Ęge beckons... I have always dreamed of living in France for a while.  Or we could move almost anywhere else in the country - the Yorkshire Dales are proving a big draw at the moment as long as there isn't a river nearby.  

One way or another, the challenge this year is to commit and then to make whatever we decide to do be the right choice.  

What challenges do you face this year, what decisions and life events are on the horizon?

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

London - Winter Walk

    I love the light shining through the winter-bare trees, just before dusk

    the stark, strong lines of the Albert Bridge seen through the bare branches

   the fast-flowing River Thames which continues to thread through my life

   and the wonderful London parks - the lungs of this beautiful City.

  Taken in Battersea Park, London, January 2014

Monday, 4 November 2013

Gratitude - Autumn Walk

Today I am grateful for... 

...the wind in my hair, 
the damp, green autumn grass under my feet, 
the sunlight streaming through the trees, glinting on the last of the falling leaves, 
the quiet embrace of the empty woods and the peace that I find there, 
the muddy stream running through the valley, 
the uncut, faded grass in the meadow where wild flowers grow in the summer 
and the ecstatic freedom of my beautiful, bouncing, bounding, young yellow Labrador as she keeps me company on my walk, 
but most of all I am grateful for the lives and the love of my three beautiful boys. 

Monday, 13 May 2013

May - Morning Walk

Bluebell wood

Beautiful blond labrador, looking for trouble


Shady country lane

Moody Suffolk skies

Dog tired and very muddy