Tuesday, 4 August 2015

where is the year going???

I can't believe I haven't managed to write anything for over two months! And actually, when I look at my camera, I haven't stopped to capture anything either. This year seems to be flying past in a blur of 'weeks to be got through' - we have had health issues, house insurance issues, work issues... There seems so little time away from work that fitting everything else in to the time off seems to have left no time for stopping and appreciating... That isn't intended to be a whinge about it - it just is what it is. I have been back to yoga for the last few months and enjoying it enormously (though haven't even made it to all those classes!) - I feel a bit like it helps me rebalance and accept, or at least attempt not to make judgements about whether I'm coping with life or not. Some stuff I just can't control & I am trying to just let it be. (I can't say I always succeed but I'm trying!!)

Two weeks ago my youngest boy finally left home - he hasn't gone far, just the other side of the city to share with a friend. It has been another adaptation process - I am glad for him, he really needed to do some independent living and however much we tried, it was next to impossible for us to fully relinquish our traditional roles while he was living with me. And in a way, I'm glad for me too - I have a spare room now, and a space I can use for working (I am typing this at a desk & not on my lap in bed - such a novelty!!), the food stays in the fridge for longer, the washing  machine is on less often... But goodness, I have missed him too! Way more than I thought I would!! And I really have to face the reality that I am on my own. And not sure how or when that will ever change. Four years after my marriage fell apart and over a year since my divorce, I have not so much as looked at the prospect of another relationship - not even sure I know how any more. So, for now at least, I have to learn to  live with my own company, enjoy the space and enjoy the company of friends when I can. Maybe thats not so bad.

Yesterday, I finally managed the next stretch of my coastal walks, picking up where we left off at Overstrand and following the beach to Cromer.  Looking back towards Mundesley it seems really overcast in these pics but actually (for the first time in days!) it was warm and sunny - must have just clicked during a patch of cloud!


Beautiful smooth sand and gentle lapping waves at Overstrand...


This was decision-making moment... Having taken my Mum, the idea being a gentle stroll, then lunch, do we clamber over the groynes and keep walking or do we turn back at this point??


Bearing in mind Mum is in her 70s we probably should have gone with the latter...but she's fairly determined (can't think where I get that bloody-minded streak from?!!) so on we went, Cromer pier visible in the distance...


It was so warm, I couldn't resist dipping my toes in the sea. On reflection this is a rather odd photo - my feet look teeny (they are really not!)


As you get nearer to Cromer the top part of the beach becomes much more pebbly, quite big lumps of flint, worn smooth by the sea. Essential to find a lucky 'stone with a hole' (anyone else do this??!)


The sand was drying out and it was a bit harder going - about this point I realised I had underestimated the time Mum would need and we were probably going to overshoot the time I'd put on the car, whether we went on to Cromer or back to Overstrand! Plus it was really warm by now so we took a detour off the beach up the cliff...


Some welcome shade and lovely view back through the trees...


but boy, were there a lot of steps!!!


It's when you look back at how far you've come...


and then look up and realise the top isn't even in sight!!


By now, I'm also feeling extremely guilty that I didn't make an executive decision and head back to Overstrand before the groyne! I'm not sure Mum's knees and hips are up to this!! Eventually, the steps give way to a grassy slope beneath the lighthouse and on down into Cromer town...



I do love that you get a whole different perspective when you walk into a town; normally approaching by car I never get this view as I come at it from a completely different direction.  The beach and town were buzzing with families & holidaymakers and the sea was so clam and blue - little bit unusual for the North Sea which often looks a bit 'murky'!


Poor Mum was badly in need of a sit down by this stage so we plumped for the first cafe we saw - which was disappointingly short on food! A cup of tea and a cake later we decided to get a taxi back to Overstrand (no way, could I make her walk back again!!).

It was a lovely walk but something of an eye opener for me. Probably the first time I've really realised how much my Mum has slowed up. And that I probably have to give her less choice about what we do. I guess we all do it - the mind is willing and can powerfully convince you that you can still manage things you probably can't very readily. It also made me more determined than ever to keep active and maintain my fitness! Mum potters but doesn't do much for sustained periods and it really showed. If I am going to be on my own I am not going to settle for ambles along the promenade until I absolutely have to !!!

I think I'm about half way round the Norfolk coast now - I wonder if I'm actually going to manage to complete it this year!! Need to go more often than once every couple of months!!!

Next week maybe...

Sx

Sunday, 31 May 2015

so little time...

Just every now and then, I'd really like the world to pause a bit. I seem to have next to no time to spend with family or friends and an incessant list of things to do, mostly related to work. 'Time off' feels like a never event and this year is passing in a blur.

Since my past post I have been out just twice. Last weekend I did get out for a few hours with an old walking friend - while most of Norfolk had decamped in green and yellow to Wembley (or to a pub with a big screen to watch aforementioned green and yellow clad frenzy...) we drove up to National Trust's Felbrigg Hall (note to self...must get that membership sorted!) and walked a 13 mile circular trip up to West Runton via Norfolk's high point at Beacon Hill, before heading on to Cromer and back to Felbrigg.


We don't claim to have anything resembling a mountain in Norfolk but North Norfolk does have its share of up and down and the views across to the sea from our little 'peak' were lovely...


Lovely sunshine heading through woodland...


...and a welcome spot for a cuppa and a bit of lunch...
 

My walks around the coast have taken a bit of a back seat of late but I do like to get at least a look at the sea now and again. Yesterday, after working most of the day (when the sun was shining!) we decided to head up to the coast again in the evening, in spite of the fact that it was definitely more chilly. I have always loved a simple barbecue at the beach as the sun goes down. Wrapped in a blanket this was a nice end to the day...



And that's pretty much it on the relaxation front. The next two weeks look no better but I'm hoping by mid June some of my deadlines will be done with and maybe, just maybe, I can start to get my work-life balance sorted?!

Here's hoping...

S x

Friday, 15 May 2015

more bluebells...& Belfast botanic gardens...

I have rather fallen in love with the bluebells this year. Not sure if I've just seen more or if I'm noticing them more? Or maybe they are just having a particularly good year? I almost pulled the car over on a little back road the other day when I spotted a stunning patch in some trees at the roadside - then realised I was on a bend on a single track road so probably not wise!

Bank holiday weekend saw us heading to the Midlands to spend a couple of days with middle son and partner ahead of a trip to Belfast, which was part leisure, part work. The Monday was a beautiful warm, sunny day so we decided to visit another National Trust property (definitely need to sort that membership! Have dropped birthday list hints!!) Calke Abbey, where there are lovely grounds to walk in.


Love this little tree growing out of the top of an old dead tree trunk - isn't nature amazing in its ability to regenerate?!


The bluebells were really breathtaking...




I couldn't resist this sneaky pic - can you see the elderly couple in the sunlight? They had just stopped to let the lady rest on the fallen tree trunk - made me feel a little pang of aloneness (even though of course I was with my family so not alone at all) - how lovely to be able to enjoy that together.


It was lovely to see my boy and his partner (and their dog, Poppy - soon to be joined by another red fox labrador puppy!)


...and my sister and niece, deep in conversation as they walked...


The park was beautiful to walk through on such a lovely day...



There were deer down by the water...



and although, on a bank holiday, lots of people had the same idea, it still had a lovely relaxing feel.


On to Belfast the following day, the weather difference couldn't have been more striking with torrential rain greeting us and a cold wind that cut through you. I had never visited Northern Ireland before and we had a couple of days looking around before I had to go to the conference I was there for. Belfast is actually a beautiful city, with some interesting buildings and history and everywhere we went everyone was so friendly. It has, of course, its share of troubled past and that still is very evident with the peace walls and famous murals in East Belfast but I suspect it had a very different feel just a few years ago and the city centre certainly feels as safe as any other now.

It's a relatively small place to walk around and you could see to the hills from the viewpoint at the top of the shopping centre...


Loved this sculpture on the way across to the titanic exhibition...


...and you really can't help but be impressed and moved by the history of the shipbuilding industry and the sinking of that great ship...



I actually took very few photos in the first couple of days because it was so cold I couldn't feel my fingers! I actually had to buy gloves...in May!!

It was still nippy, but at least brighter, when we went to the beautiful botanic gardens over near the university - stunning displays of tulips outside the grand Palm House...




Lovely trees and shrubs...




and inside the glasshouse, heat enough to mist up my lens, with orchids, ferns, and many tropical plants...








I'd definitely recommend Belfast as a place to visit, and would love to go back and see more of Ireland, both North & South - think it has some beautiful countryside and some interesting history to absorb.

A little less wet and wind would have been nice though... :)

Til next time 

S x