Spring

Well it didn’t seem as dark and wet and drawn out as I originally thought it would, but winter is over. The new month of March has heralded the start of spring. In honesty, despite a couple of weeks of snow, which felt like winter giving us one more kick in the shins before it died, it’s been feeling like spring is here since early February. The telltale signs like the daffodil shoots coming through, the expectant swathes of snowdrops, and, my favourite, the increased bird song and activity.


I still continue to work from home, which as I’ve written before, is preferable for me, as it is for others. Admittedly it’s been a strange winter, full of ups and downs, but I did start the year full of energy with a new set of resolutions. The main one was to walk 1000 miles in the year. I know a few people having a go at this one and I, for one, am thoroughly enjoying it. I cover enough miles anyway with running, but walking is an obvious different pace, enabling me to notice more and spend more time outdoors. Nine weeks in, and I’m going strong. It’s great to take advantage of not spending three hours a day commuting. I can finish work at the kitchen table, put on my shoes and coat and step out for an hour or too. I spend all day alone, but it’s a different alone. The alone that’s coupled with the heart rate-raising ping of a new email, an out-of-the-blue video call on top of the tribulations of a day job. The alone I get on my walk is a relaxed alone. I can process what’s happened during the day, prepare for what might happen tomorrow, listen to music or a podcast or just walk in silence allowing my thoughts to run riot before naturally settling.


Originally, last autumn when I decided I was going to attempt the walking challenge this year, I began walking in the morning before work. This was mainly because I felt quite stressed and thought it was a great way to calm everything down before switching on my computer. It didn’t really work out that way. Instead, I’d arrive home, and within five minutes all the walk would be undone. I would then finish the day by going for a run, meaning, more often than not, I would be energised later in the evening. So I switched it around in January. The change has been overwhelming. Much more fired up ready to tackle all the crap of the day, and able to wind down in the evening. I’ve always preferred morning runs anyway, so it should have been obvious, but routines and habits have all changed in the last twelve months.


I hope you all have things or people in your lives at the moment, keeping you going, inspiring you and driving you along. If you haven’t got one or the other, or neither, try and do something about it. It’s never too late to write a list of whom or where you want to be and think about how to get there. It’s amazing how motivating it can be. Feel free to get in touch and we can do it together.

Stay safe, stay motivated, stay honest to yourself.

Planning to escape

It’s so easy to establish a routine. Especially if you have a day job. I find that my evening routine changes through the seasons. Through summer it is spent outdoors unsurprisingly, sometimes at the allotment. But through winter, it’s tough. I say tough but what I mean is it’s so easy to tune into the crap that fills the TV schedule these days. I mean, seriously, how many dance-off, or ‘reality’ programmes is there room for?! Not wanting to turn into a couch potato, I try to do constructive things. As new year comes around, I feel like we are well over half way through winter, so I start looking hopefully forward to spring. Just this morning I spotted green shoots coming through the soil.

Nothing fills me with more hope than planning things for the warmer, brighter days. Setting out a plan for the allotment, choosing seeds, where to plant everything, gives a strange remedy.

Sitting on the train this week, I have been flicking through a mountain walks guide for Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons to do in the spring and summer. This gives me the greatest pleasure. I love planning a walk from a map of an area that I am not overly familiar with. I read the contours like it’s a novel, and picture the mountains, valleys and every knoll and sinkhole, imagining what it all looks like. Inevitably, when I get there I’m completely wrong. It’s funny because just like when I read a book, I make the film of it in my own head as I’m going through it, and as in the case of The Hobbit, I am perpetually disappointed when the real thing is released. The version in my head as a ten-year-old was much more magical and charming and Bilbo Baggins was not the tit from the mobile phone adverts. It can be the same with my walks. I always picture them taking place on a warm, sunny, spring day but in my experience, especially in Snowdonia, I’ve frozen my manhood off and got wet through to my Dennis the Menace boxer shorts. Unlike the film’s though, I’m never disappointed. I think this is one of the reasons I can sit and look over a map for hours, and the feeling of escape is probably why I used to draw so many of my own when I was very young. The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings works by Tolkien to me was a kind of escape that I envied. I still do. Tolkien was a walking enthusiast and spent the mammoth part of his life trying to escape his reality. Drawing maps of distant fantasy lands, elven characters and Norse-like languages. To say he was away with the fairies was an understatement, but what a place to be.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m switching the box on to watch somebody eat a live scorpion, whilst blindfolded, surrounded by dancing midgets. Fascinating.