Tag Archives: outdoors

Lakeland adventures

Two weeks ago we went on holiday, for a little break in the Lake District. I love this part of the country, the hills where I cut my hill walking teeth, the most beautiful lakes and pretty slate-built villages nestling amongst them. The way the Lakes seems to have its own language, with pikes and dales, tarns and gills. The hills here are unlike any I’ve seen elsewhere, and even the sunlight seems to have a different quality about it, bathing the landscape in a soft glow which makes me happy just to be a part of it.

Well for this week, that had to be enough, because on day two I woke up with an evil cold which turned out to be something more like flu in disguise. We had a really lovely walk on the first day, climbing Helvellyn via striding edge in the mist and some wind, and losing our way slightly at the start, Chris’ introduction to this ridge was not ideal but we had a great day anyway! Scrambling is fun! However, that was all I was to manage, the day after I could barely walk from the car to the nearest cafe! So the holiday turned into more of a sedate affair, resting in the mornings and then taking trips out in the car, walking to the nearest tea shop, having some nice cake and then going home again. I felt like I’d just aged 60 years! But we still got to wander around some of the nicest little towns, and rest and relaxation was enforced. And even though that was now two weeks ago, I’m only just getting over the thing, which proves that I wasn’t just being a wimp!

In other news, the wedding plans continue apace- about 3 months to go now. We had a fun hour one evening this week looking over the liturgy for the service, working out where the hymns and readings will go and looking at the vows. We’ve known pretty much from the start what hymns we would like to sing, and sorted the readings fairly easily, so we’ve not thought about the service in that much detail. Reading through the declarations and vows made it real in another way. I can’t wait to say them for real.

An attempt

Things still aren’t great, it might be my state of mind right now but it feels like most things are just really not working. But the point of me doing this is precisely for the times when I feel like this (though its not usually this bad, so therefore not usually this hard). So I’m trying.

Yesterday I took a bus out to Clydach, a part of Swansea I’ve never visited properly before, just heard of it, been aware of its existance on the map and so on. I went to meet my mentor to discuss preaching stuff, but its more like sitting down and talking to a friend than a heavy discussion. We had tea, chatted about how its going (general feeling; pretty well, no problems), worked out the next dates we’re doing (not for a while yet, so thats one less thing to worry about after this Sunday) and then went for a walk. The weather was sunny and… *warm*, in February, in Wales. It’ll probably be grey and rainy again soon, but while it lasts.. It was nice, just for a short time, to be up above the world a little, to look down at it, and brought back the withdrawl symptoms of not having been up a decent hill in a while.

Everything isn’t fixed, buy a long stretch. I’m still here with job applications and everything else to do. But still, I spose finding the positives is all about those little moments which come in the middle of everything else.

Lazing on a sunny afternoon…

I wasn’t working this weekend! For the first time in several weeks I had a whole weekend to play with :D:D:D So I’d planned a weekend in Bristol with Chris, with no plans! And it was mostly sunny as well, anyone would think it was summer 😉

I got down to Bristol Parkway (my favouritest station in the world ;)) later than I would have liked on Friday evening, but with no major delays, spent a nice evening doing not a lot, eating dinner and chatting about life the universe and everything. On Saturday, after a lazy morning we headed out to Cheddar for a lovely walk along the gorge with a stop off in Cheddar itself in the middle for (late) lunch in a nice pub. Then up the other side to complete the circle, although whoever thought lunch should be at the *bottom* of the hill was slightly misguided. And though a short ramble along either side of Cheddar Gorge can’t really be called a walk, it was nice to be outdoors again. And it meant I managed to educate/scare/bore/amuse Chris with my botanical geekery.. I think he’s learnt his lesson about taking me near anything plant-shaped for a while!

That evening was a birthday celebration, which involved a meal we didn’t know about till that afternoon, but which was nicely veggie friendly and rather yummy (with chopsticks a-plenty but no moving food this time!), and then drinking in various locations which meant I ended the evening completely knackered and quite a bit less sober than I’ve been in a while… but it was good fun, and nice to just relax for an evening. And we still managed to be up for church in the morning 🙂 Church was followed by a nice relaxed sunday lunch, sitting in the garden enjoying the sun, and flopping in front of a film before having to catch the train home.

All in all, a rather wonderful weekend, with some good quality ‘us’ time, spending time with the family and with friends, and just chilling out and enjoying the weather. But now I don’t want to have to go back to the ‘normal’ routine of things.. bring on the holidays!!!

A weekend in the sun :)

No, I’ve not been away anywhere exotic, just enjoying the stonking weather here in this corner of Wales this weekend. It might only be February (and the temperature early in the morning tells you that much) but the sun has been shining down on us, and lifted many spirits in doing so.

On Friday evening I heard the weather man say something like “very cold and clear this weekend, perfect for a day in the hills”. I sat an cursed my bad luck at not having the means to get to said hills, and then decided that, dammit, I was going to go out and enjoy this lovely weather anyway. So I looked up the bus times, and Saturday morning got myself on a bus out to
Parkmill
on South Gower. See the other thing planned for this weekend, which also made it fab, was an ex-Swansea friend visiting for the day on Saturday, which gave us an excuse to go to verdis for lunch. So I decided my walk would only be a short one, and I’d meet them there. So having got to my starting point by 9.40am, I had plenty of time for a nice walk along the south Gower coast in the sunshine, planning (and managing) to get to mumbles by 1pm.

It was an absolutely gorgeous day, cold and clear as the weather man said! After a short bus ride across the frosty Gower commons, I arrived in Parkmill and wandered down to the back of Pennard pill and up the sand dunes to Pennard Castle, bathed in early morning low winter sun. The sand was still frosty in places where the sun hadn’t reached, and I could see my breath forming clouds as I walked. As I headed east the sun strengthened, and was quite warm, and by the time I reached Caswell bay by about 12ish, it was fairly mild, for February, and there were families walking along the beach, children playing and building sandcastles, but only a handful of crazy surfers brave enough to test the water! The sea was bluer (is that a word?!) than I’ve ever seen it, reflecting the clear cloudless sky, and the tide was far out revealing what seemed like an endless stretch of sand. I could go on, but I’d never be able to put it into words. I have a photo or two which I’ll try and share here at some point.

Combining this with then meeting aforementioned friends, having a good old natter to catch up on the last few months, and then continuing to do so at home over dinner and a cup of tea or two, a lovely and thought-provoking church service this morning, and a nice wander along Swansea bay in the late afternoon sun, and I’m feeling more than a little bit cheerfull this evening 🙂

For various reasons my future in this part of the world is a little uncertain at present. Having been (properly) job hunting for the best part of a year with little success, I’m forced to re-assess my options, and consider some (sich as moving away) which I didn’t really want to have to. A day like yesterday just makes me realise again how much I have come to love this place. How much it means to me, and how much I would miss it if I should have to leave. There are other coastal towns I’m sure, and other stretches of coastline as impressive, if not more so. But this place is special, to me at least. And its on my doorstep! When people ask ‘but whats so great about Swansea?’ sometimes I think thats all I’d need to show them.