Towards the end of October, Zoe from Splodz Blogz issued a #onehouroutside challenge - can you spend (at least) one hour outside every day for the month of November?
And I immediately though "yes, I can. Shouldn't be too hard, especially with dog walking responsibilities".
In fairness, I almost managed it. I think in the end there were probably 3 or 4 days where I didn't clock up a full 60 minutes, and on at least one of those I'd done plenty of indoor exercise so wasn't feeling super lazy. (the other days... shhh)
Weekends weren't a problem, with many hours spent walking and cycling. Dog walking made up a large proportion of weekday time, as did other exciting things like 'cycling to work' (once..), 'walking to the shops' and 'scraping ice from the car'. Every little helps, right?
It probably also helped that November was fairly dry, and I managed to dodge the rain we did have pretty well. However, I was very much hoping that some kayaking would happen, but sadly river levels have not been co-operating recently (the bit of white water in the photo above is a small local stream after some rain.. sadly not navigable!)
It's nearly December, which means it's time for a everyone to have a good old moan about dark evenings, and cold/rainy/grey weather. Bleurgh.
But apparently humans aren't allowed to hibernate, so we're busy as usual. Perhaps too busy actually - my evenings are currently pretty full (tennis, pilates, kettlebells, canoe club pub night, plus occasional trips out to the theatre and the snowdome...) as well as going out at the weekend. And lots of dog walks, which I've been doing at lunchtime to make sure I get some daylight.
Anyway, I've been feeling somewhat frazzled for the last couple of weeks. Not helped by realising that I'd only had half a day off work since July - including changing jobs during that time. Oops. So last week I took a couple of days off to do things that normal people do at weekends - shopping, housework and a tip to the trip.
We've slightly scaled back the weekend 'adventurousness' and have been concentrating on fairly short local walks and bike rides, which I will summarise below...
Saturday before last we did a short circular walk from Deerhurst, along the Severn Way to Apperley and back. The start/end point was Odda's Chapel, which is a very old and well preserved building that I didn't take any decent photos of. Instead, here's a floodgate, because everyone loves flood plains.
The day after that we went for a second go at the Bredon Hill route, which was much muddier this time! I had one surprisingly graceful dismount on a slippy downhill section, and we did a lot of stopping to remove big lumps of mud that were trying to clog everything up. No random detours this time though!
Last Sunday we cycled up a local hill. Sandhurst Hill has a trigpoint at a whopping 86m above sea level, so I'm not talking anything particularly strenuous here! Once we'd summitted the hill we headed down a bridleway/track to the Severn, opposite the Boat at Ashleworth. Again, quite muddy. Sometimes I think that mud is made of lots of tiny hands that are determined to grab onto bike wheels (did I fall off again because of it? maaaybe)
Last weekend was also the Victorian Market at Gloucester Quays, ie the usual food/craft market but a bit bigger and with added fancy dress. We came home with the usual haul of cheese, beer and salami
Last week Abi suggested we go for a walk on the Malvern hills. Great idea! We were joined by another friend of theirs, bringing the total to five humans and three dogs.
We met in the car park at British Camp, and headed up to Worcestershire Beacon. As usual there were plenty of other people (and dogs!) around, and it was a bit windy (again, nothing new there). Mmm, lovely fresh air.
the dogs with their male humans at the trig point
From the Beacon we kept going around Sugarloaf hill, then headed back via the Chase Inn for a nice pub lunch. The staff there were more than happy to have three dogs snoozing next to the fire while we ate, and even provided treats for them.
gorse and scenery
I'd decided to try out the Buff I got in my goody bag on the Outdoor Bloggers weekend recently (courtesy of Kitshack - thanks!) It's an original Buff in 'mountaintop' pattern, and it did a good job of keeping my hair from flying all over the place. However I did eventually swap to a fleecy hat as the wind was a bit too cold. We soon found an alternative use for it though: keeping Bonnie's neck warm, and making her look extra stylish along with her fancy coat
At the end of our walk we got ice creams (yes, I realise it's November!), and Bonnie was quite keen to help us eat them. I went for Damson and Sloe gin flavour, which was delicious even if I did end up putting my gloves on to hold the tub...