Getting back into walking

The grand walk around Smithills Moor on 24th April, 2021

I’d promised myself a ‘getting back into the swing of things’ type of walk for a week or two and with the onset of good weather, I couldn’t remember the last time we’d had rain, this weekend seemed like the perfect opportunity, whilst Chris stayed at home and did the gardening. I didn’t relish the idea of driving well over 90 minutes to get to Pendle and I also thought that given my current lack of fitness that to attempt Pendle Hill would have hospitalised me! A gentle stroll up to Rivington Pike and a meandering route down back to the car would have been just what the doctor ordered then…

Eventually, after some arguments between me and my iPhone cable splitter – which cuts out, I reached the start of the walk at around 9:25 and was on route by 9:30. I did toy with the idea of mapping this out via my Fitbits ( I had both on because I don’t trust them) in conjunction with the phone app but then decided this would zap my battery, or my data or more likely both!

The first port of call was the Pinetum, we don’t have many trees where I live now, so this afforded me the chance to see something more than Amelanchiers and Cherry trees and it is a nice flattish kind of start to the walk.  By 9:45 I had already decided that this would not just be a “Pike and back” route, having seen it from afar for the last few car outings, I wanted to nail Winter Hill summit but on my own terms – I would not be choosing any of the harder routes up to the top. I know  how boring this can sound but I wanted to bag the summit via the road route. This meant heading west and then south in order to get to the start of the Winter Hill road off George’s Lane – I had done this before, twice, so I was familiar enough with the route. I was surprised to see that the Dog Hotel that was, had now become a pop-up eatery, selling all sorts of drinks which were all neatly laid out, on a table, becoming increasingly warmer and less and less palatable! They also advertised that they sold Greenhalgh’s pies – I declined the chance to cart around with me – something as hot as Mercury’s core with heart attack potential, things like this were at least in part to blame for my current ‘rotund’ physique! Walking past was easy.

After some time I arrived at the turn-off for Winter Hill (the road) and began the gradual ascent. I had anticipated there being lots of folks out and about today, more so than normal given the freedoms now afforded to us in post lockdown…I had no idea they would be spread so far and wide, I saw people going the same way as me! Thankfully the three men that I did see decided to take a path which I had once considered, but decided against (which I believes leads all the way up to Crooked Edge Hill). I did get talking to a man who was walking down Winter Hill who had said that the Pike had appeared teeming with people since more or less first light this morning. That’s kind of a good and bad thing, good in that people are getting exercise and socialising and bad as I have now been possessed by the spirit of the late, great Alfred Wainwright and want all of the countryside to myself! Don’t get me wrong, I do like people, I do enjoy talking to them on route…but I don’t like having to wait for them at stiles and kissing gates and well most places to be honest! The distant views of the Pike were instilling in me the belief that towards that direction lay an awful lot of ‘waiting for people’.

Counting Hill in all its majesty.

I found myself to be coping so well with walking that the notion of extending the route to detour around Dean Mills Reservoir leapt into my mind and wouldn’t vacate. Hence I resolved to walk on past Two Lads and instead took the right hand turn onto yet more moorland – or at least the slabbed path which leads down and south-west, passing the former site of Smithills shooting hut. Progress was quite quick, given that I did occasionally stop to take the odd hazy photograph. Overhead – or at least all around me, were invisible sources of constant sound – Skylarks and by goodness were they on form today! I exchanged pleasantries with a couple who looked to have come from where I was heading and who were heading where I’d been. There was another friendly exchange between myself and a man who was a dead ringer for my one-time next door neighbour and then finally I was at the top of the little slope and in front of me was the small but perfectly azural Dean Mills reservoir.  To be honest you could possibly fit eight of these into the Lower Ogden Reservoir (my all-time favourite body of water) but that should not detract from this being in a lovely location and the shade of blue from a reservoir which has previously labelled as brown or peaty…well it was so worth the trek here.

I decided not to loiter as I was feeling a little bit hungry and thirsty and in need of a sit down. Although there was nothing wrong with the ground I fancied there might be somewhere nicer to sit further uphill and duly began the gentle ascent of this lesser visited of the West Pennines: Counting Hill. I think the last time that I was in this vicinity was in the winter of 2013 when I met up with a lady from the walking forum for a walk which turned out to be one of my favourites of the year – with snow, not normally my favourite weather condition. The terrain is essentially one giant peat sponge, soaking up every bit of water that falls on the twin plateaus of Counting and Winter hills, filtering it and conveying it on to the abundance of reservoirs situated to the south and west of the area. This is not the most arduous of climbs in fair weather, pardon the pun but it is a breeze! In inclement weather the organic path vanishes, in fact it is hardly visible at the start and end. Today I got lucky, so lucky in fact that I only saw one person on this hillside until I was within striking distance of where this path merges with the one which branches from Winter Hill road all the way down to Belmont Road. I found a very handily placed arrangement of rocks at which I sat and ate my lunch and tried to get some decent photographs but the haze was destroying clarity leaving everything looking a bit washed out on the monitor afterwards – you can’t have everything! Within seconds of my rising from my dolmen of a seat, a cute little bumble bee had landed and began foraging for whatever bumble bees forage. This would lead to one of the clearest photos of the day.

Who knew there was a tarn up here?
It’s yours truly trying to look enigmatic!

Winter Hill, the true summit of Winter Hill now beckoned and having not been to the top of this for close to three years I was up for the quite gentle task of traversing the remainder of Counting Hill and onto the col which is now gaining popularity at the top of Winter Hill (the road). I was almost sad to be leaving Counting Hill as this was a wonderfully tranquil and solitary place where I think  I could easily spend large amounts of time and only come away feeling good about myself.  I think I counted twelve people who’s path I crossed on route to the ordnance survey column – my only one of the day! Ordinarily, it’s rare to see more than one, I think this is the post pandemic phenomena – people are so bored of staying at home that even more are coming out into the countryside, well, as long as they don’t get in the way I suppose… It was a really welcome change to approach the column without my boots getting a liberal coating of mud, people can dress it up however they want but I do know the difference between peat and mud – mud stinks, peat does not! There was no spectacular view to the Yorkshire Icons to be had today so I quickly stood up and made my way back to the road, took a left and after a few metres took a right to begin the longest downhill section up to this part of the walk. Again I did encounter a lot of people on route, far more than normal, Winter Hill never used to attract the hordes but I have a feeling that’s transitional.  I was torn between wanting to wander across the great wide track across Rivington Moor to the Pike and bagging Crooked Edge Hill once more.

There’s nothing spectacular about this particular hill, yes there are two great mounds of stones and another budding ‘lad’ at “Two Lads” but it’s not like they offer a mobile phone charging station or vend a nice full-bodied merlot, they’re just two mounds of stones which people have taken to treating with a certain sentimentality which eludes me (and yet I actually love Pendle Hill!). All the same, it’s important to stick at one’s objectives for the day and the ascent of Crooked Edge Hill had been part of my itinerary for…a few hours. Having stumbled upon a path which seemed to have potential to escort me over towards the Pike track I made a deal with myself to bag Crooked Edge Hill and return to this path to achieve all relevant objectives. That being said, the possibility was denied me as I couldn’t find (or devote the time and patience) this path to the Pike and instead filtered off back down the bumpy and vertigo inducing drop down Crooked Edge Hill to the former dog hotel / pie shop! This is not my favourite part of the route and I was delighted to be back on terroir – almost firmer at the front of the shop. I was only slightly tempted by the sight of what had to be by now, bottled warm water and decided to have a seat at another large stone and with a large helping of fortune discovered I still had some energy gels with me, which were readily consumed. By this time Apple Weather app was reporting the local temperature as 17 Celsius – it felt a good deal hotter than that!

The reward for the slog uphill, the Tower atop the Pike.

I’m not a fan of the section from the Dog hotel of old; to the irrelevant lump which is Brown Hill, it’s boring and seems to go on forever. The highlight was watching two young lads leg it up the side of an extremely steep – I want to say ‘sheep trod’ but no sheep in its right mind would attempt that thing, in less than 17 seconds – the two lads from their party who had stayed on the ‘road’ were not subtle when it came to reporting the time taken. It was very impressive, I had looked at this slope in awe on my way past many hours earlier!

By now the sun was truly beating down on me as I turned off the main road and headed slowly up the track which would lead me to my turn-off for ‘The Pike’. There was no way in hell that I would attempt the southern ascent, which is fairly steep and obviously more exposed to the merciless sun. The path I took almost loops around the entire mound but then turns 180 opposite the path to Winter Hill. It’s more easily ascended, thankfully and far less exposed – there’s itself in the way if you get what I mean! Soon enough I had ascended my last ‘peak’ of the day. To be fair to the Pike it is the steepest one, just it also happens to be the summit with the least altitude, the views everywhere today were essentially crap so really with the Pike overlooking the activity just below it – dozens of people enjoying their day out in the sun whilst taking in scenery other than their own back gardens, had to be the summit with the best views of the day!

After very carefully descending the stone staircase and then the more eroded path I spent a moment talking to a couple of wags about their dog – a lovely Caucasian Shepherd (female) who looked only slightly smaller than your average pit pony! I did want to take a photo but figured that might be a bit:

  • Invasive – the woman has a right to walk her dog wherever she wants without people ‘papping’ her!
  • Dodgy – this could have been construed as me pretending to take a photo of her dog in order to get one of her
  • Daft as the woman who owned the dog was a bit on the attractive side and this would probably have got me in trouble with Chris.

So I moved on with best intentions intact. Which leads me nicely to the next section: the Rivington Pike Terraced Gardens. Oh my where do I start? Since 2016 when the Repairing Rivington project secured £3.4M  from the Heritage Lottery Fund  to essentially tidy the place up, things have been changing. Their website : https://www.rivingtonterracedgardens.org.uk/get-involved/the-restoration-project/ words it differently but we are both pointing at the same sun if you catch my drift! I appreciate the drive and efforts and intentions of the project. But, by God has it ever made things bloody confusing around here now as old paths (and now lakes >>> ) are unearthed. It’s quite possible to spend a lot more time here than what you might have originally intended and that would be mainly down to the fact that you are now essentially lost in a maze of paths, and castellated things! It’s lovely here, don’t get me wrong, but part of the attraction pre 2016 was the knowledge of ‘how it had been’, we’d become accustomed to it looking a certain way and now it’s looking a different way, not all together different, just more paths – you kind of see where I’m heading here (pardon the pun). Stop it with the incessant path unearthing…or I could just get over it and if I don’t like it, don’t bloody go here, hey they are leaving Great Hill alone!

Ultimately I ambled on over to the start of my walk on the long driveway having spent roughly five hours walking around in the sun – good job I’d put some factor 30 on hey?

Summary

I was over the moon to have got around this trek and delighted when I looked at my Fitbits (yes, I had then both on) to discover I had done 30K steps as I would really have been content with just the bagging of the Pike and Two Lads, so to have taken in the other two peaks was a real bonus. Counting hill, well more specifically the stones where I took my lunch stop was a little slice of heaven that I was lucky to find given that this was not part of my route when I set off this morning.  There is something rather special about the less frequented summits – even though there was evidence enough that many more people have traversed that hillside, that path didn’t lay itself! i wasn’t surprised to see so many people out and about, moreover, I’d expected Rivington to be teeming and by the time I finished it was. I am not against the Rivington renovation projects per se and it won’t put me off returning every once in a while, but for now my friend Great Hill beckons and I’ve really missed her!

To discover more about the Rivington Restoration project and other articles about Rivington and days out there, take a gander at their web site: https://www.rivingtonterracedgardens.org.uk/

Distance covered: roughly 12 miles (19km)

Ups and downs: Around 1800′  (540+metres)

Song stuck in my head: Harry Styles – Adore You

 

Here’s the route on plotaroute.com – with my fuckup included!

And so it came to pass…

I have now finally left the #walk1000miles Facebook group for reasons of mental wellbeing. We all get a little overwhelmed by needy people, well that group was kind of like their ‘hang out place’!

Here are some examples of typical questions:

“How far should I walk?”
“Where should I go?”
“How do I know when I’ve walked too far?”
“Do only ‘boots on’ walks count?”
“What does ‘boots on’ mean?”
“Can I include running?”

You get the point, God they piss me right off, so needy and in desperate need of confirmation and validation for every single last thought they have! It’s all about sharing, sharing every single last bastard brain fart they experience!

I am so well rid of that hourly annoyance!

Shortest post for a long time!

I’ve done a walk

No hills – other than an ascent of the bridge on Birkdale Cop which traverses…a muddy stream!

This was my first walk for quite some time so I kept it short, and urban! I left our house and yes, I’m still very happy to refer to where I live now as a house and not ‘the flat’, and headed to Tesco at Kew. From here it was a nice, if somewhat noisy (lockdown, what lockdown?) amble in a south-easterly direction towards Ormskirk until I turned off at Turning Lane – I do like it when things work out like that! I’d only ever walked along Turning Lane once before and that was in the opposite direction and as part of an epic route home from work, so was a bit too knackered to appreciate its charms, of which it has many. Who knew that we had a caravan park quite so close at Alderlee Park? The gardens were pretty much standard, nothing spectacular, no houses were draped in Wisteria – a great shame as this can be a truly remarkable sight, of done just right. The views across to Kew were mesmerising and if I had not already been using my phone to track the route I would have taken a lot of photographs, which doubtlessly would have impacted on the time taken.

At the end of Turning Lane I took a right and on to Jacksmere Lane where again I was afforded more views of lots and lots of greenery. We may be expanding the town with regards to the amount of new estates popping up, but there are still large tracts of relatively unspoilt greenbelt land at which we are still able to gaze. After a short while the pavement ran out, not literally, although I think most people would pay to see such a spectacle, but physically the pavement was no more. And for the next mile or maybe even two (because it felt like ten!) this was not a nice perambulation! I rounded the corner and onto the road effectively known as Birkdale Cop – to me it was purgatory! The wind was driving into my face and for over a mile, the notion of a pavement appeared to have been a none-entity in the minds of the town planners. Given that this road incorporates a 50 Mph speed limit for most of the stretch that I was (by now) hobbling along, this was something of a nervy and debilitating slog. I have walked this stretch before, it was not quite as windy then and the traffic was around the same for speed in passing me and regularity. What was different? My preconceived perception! Because this road is essentially the backbone of our estate, I had expected the speed limit (which is now 30 in places) to have had more of an effect that it has really had. At some point in the future, there will be driveways leading to houses on the land that I was grudgingly traversing. It appears that I was wanting things to progress at a quicker pace than is occurring, ultimately my fault, but not that bloody wind!

Eventually, after much swearing into the dry maelstrom I reached Town Lane, this is closed for the most part, a determined trespasser could, if clean footwear is not a motivator, make it on to the estate by foot, the rest of us simply take a right then a left and onto the tarmac path at Kew Woods – South, I thought it best to give the area a name; given that the Ordnance Survey has not yet deemed this a necessary measure!

At last the bloody wind calmed somewhat! I could hear noises other than vehicular traffic and my own curses! Now distant bird cries of Herring Gulls, Starlings and the ubiquitous collared doves were all around…and the sun was out, to be fair it had been out for all of the walk thus far, it had just been hard to appreciate with traffic whizzing past and the wind trying to get me squished! Soon enough I had ventured onto the only-recently re-opened Wight Moss Way – my new favourite road, as it leads onto my estate. And from here it was only a few minutes walk to home.

It was by no means a big walk at a mere 4.00 miles and thirty-something floors (390 feet or thereabouts!). Further to this my overall speed was not one for the record books – well possibly for my slowest walk ever on flat terrain! I can’t let myself get bothered about these things, I’m still very injured as my right leg will attest. I have an appointment with a physio / consultant online next Tuesday. If I thought this walk was an arduous slog then words might fail me when attempting to describe the uphill battle for which I am attempting to prepare myself in connection to getting some help / therapy. Dam lockdown, I remain adamant that lack of exercise lead to this horrid condition which blights my every footstep one second and then leaves me alone the next.

But, I will return to the pavements…just not necessarily the ones covered on Tuesday 6/4/21, for a while…

Rather useless map:

2021 Going forward

I know a lot of people don’t like it when others end their sentences with “going forward”, personally I couldn’t give a rat’s arse!

Wow, it’s been so rainy this year. I know there have been many other far more pressing concerns in the world – like the coronavirus, and whether it’s real, and if it is will the vaccine be a real gamer-changer…or not! Agreed. However, I’ve had a fucked-up right knee followed and then joined by a fucked-up pair of feet (I’m going to see  podiatrist today, don’t you know!), these issues can get fixed, or a workaround via pain management found. What can’t be fixed is the crappy weather we’ve been having since September…when we moved here! I don’t remember there being two successive days when it hasn’t been raining in my local area. If the doomsayers and foretellers of global climatic change are to be believed then this is only going to stay the same – oh shit where’s the rope? But then just a minute…how many times have there been predications of ‘rain all day in the north west’ only for my walk to be cancelled and then a beautiful sunny afternoon and vice versa? So, in essence, just because the meteorologists are saying the climate is going to hell in a hand basket, I’d be more impressed if they could predict tomorrow’s weather error free, and they don’t seem to be much good at that!

So, I’m going to start paying less attention to weather forecasts up to the point of if they predict it will rain – I’ll take some waterproofs, if they say sunshine – I’ll plat shit! No, if sunshine is predicted I’ll put my factor fifty on…and take my waterproofs any ole way!

Because this has been one shit year, from a walking perspective. Oh sure I just about got my 1,000 miles in (and how some people from those groups are beginning to get more than a bit tiresome!) but my last real countryside, no-roads walk was the Amble in February! Shit! I’m not doing that two-years-running, no sir! Next year I’m going out regardless! On a related note the LDWA have cancelled all of their planned Winter / Spring walks…fucking pandemic!

So in a bid to get myself back to some positive level of fitness, and because I genuinely do believe that solo walking (or walking with Karl and Sue) is good for me, I started to put together a plan of action. Now, I’ve done this before and proved myself to be a past master at ignoring plan of actions, so instead of saying when I’m going where, I’m just going to stick with where and try to keep them in order – for success:

 

    A first glimpse of Rivington Pike’s tower.

Rivington Pike, and I’m not even adding Winter Hill and all of the other minor summits I normally traverse.

 

 

 

 

 

Pendle Hill, this will be when I’ve got a lot more fitness under my belt as we all no know, Pendle is no push over!

The king of the West Pennines, Winter hill looms majestically as seen from Catherine Edge.

Then it’s back to the Winter Hill massif for a more circuitous round taking in Rivington Pike and Winter Hill and possibly Two Lads and the big drop down the north face to Belmont road before returning via Catter Nab.

Pendle (again) with Stang Top Moor thrown in and (if I’m fit enough then) going up Pendle via ‘the middle way’!

 

 

 

 

The 'Nose' of Pen-y_ghent
The ‘Nose’ of Pen-y-Ghent

Pen-y-Ghent. And so it begins, the training for 2021’s Y3P – this is all very much pie in the sky at the moment, I’ll need a working pair of feet and knees for this let alone the bigger 24.5 miles challenge.

 

 

 

 

Anglezarke Reservoir framed by Silver Birches.

The Amble – solo obviously as they’ve called off the event, I plan to do the full thing solo, of course this will have to be after a relatively dry spell (anyone remember those?) and in later spring when the light will be around for me to see where I’m going – especially on Darwen Moor where the path is a bit, undefined!

 

 

 

 

Ingleborough, I’ll try to factor in Simon Fell and Park Fell as they are really overlooked in favour of the big attention grabber on the same massif.

 

 

Sefton Coastal Path. Well why not? I’ve been banging on about doing this for yonks and to be honest, it’s the right of every Sandgrounder…

Ominous Whernside!

Whernside. But, I will be going from Ribblehead, to be honest if I never get to do this beast from Chapel le Dale ever again, that’d be fine with me.
The Three Peaks of Yorkshire – solo, with a sensible amount of water – not half a gallon like last time!

Scafell Pike from Dungeon Ghyll and taking in Great End. Well it looks amazing so why not! (Photo to be added when I find it, stupid ass laptop won’t connect to my WD MyCloud anymore!).

If I get that lot in, with a few walks with Karl and Sue then it will have been a successful walking year. Not like this one!

Still recovering from lockdown

Day 10

 

I was grateful for the rain on Tuesday night as Monday’s walk had been a bit of a crippler. Likewise I set off in relative high spirits last night only to be brought to a painful halt a few times en route. Google maps has my route for last night down as pretty much dead-on five miles, my Fitibt (and me) would estimate this to be closer to six. I suppose in the end it doesn’t really matter that much, as long as I am still out there walking and getting in some exercise.

But it’s not just exercise which is leading me out of the house, no sir! More often than not I am going for ‘mindful walks’. Yes, I’m not a fan of buzzwords and new fangled ways of thinking but in this case it’s actually true, walking for the sake of getting out of the house and away from the TV does make me feel better, well not just better but good! Every so often this ‘good’ is punctuated by a bout of pain as yet another thing screws up in my knee, but when that subsides I do feel optimistic, upbeat even! This effect tends to intensify the further I go away from civilisation, on The Moss I’m practically euphoric! Of course every so often it does get squashed when I fear I may be taking the wrong route…but well we can’t let that stop me now can we?

 

Recovering from Lockdown 2020

Day 9

Let’s celebrate our losses.

Well, because I had to go into work – I promised for some reason, I thought that getting the 10K in would be a synch, just have a walk around the fitness trail at lunch – that always nets around 4.5K then get the rest at night. Ahem, storm Francis had a different theory which worked out as: ‘Let’s torrent it down all down with a 50 m.p.h. wind! Subsequently I only managed to get in 7K for the day, essentially walking to the car and back. To make matters even more sinful, what did we have for our evening meal? Well lets just say that this was inspired by a white-haired American gentleman with a deep south accent (or so the legend goes). So, I’m not going to dwell on this, onward shall be the silent cry and we’ll just deal with it.

Flushed with the success of last Saturday’s walk incorporating some of the best of Marshside, Churchtown and The Moss, I’m hoping for similar weather this weekend, and thankfully I have three days to aim at to get out and about. I don’t know where yet but it would be nice to get over to the coast road as it’s such a lovely place to amble when 1. it isn’t raining and 2. it isn’t closed – which it is at the moment but I don’t know if this is just for cars etc.

Recovering from lockdown (2020)

Days 3 – 7

 

Still recovering and more importantly how quick was it before I got too busy to carry on with the daily updates? It’s always the same, normally I get to around day three then just never seem to make the time to carry on…hence the compressed version.

So anyway, the healthy eating kind of petered out – especially closer to the weekend, the lure of the chip shop plus we have been really bad at food shopping, we are such authors of our own demise, when we shop properly we do it healthily…Anyway, I’m going to make a more concerted effort to cut out the bread again.

On the urban walking side of things, the knee is slowly getting better, or maybe I’m just adjusting my walking gate so as to avoid putting as much pressure on the right as I am on my left? Monday to Wednesday I kept to the 10,000 steps per day then had a lousy Thursday and Friday which meant a tad of overcompensating on Saturday. Chris had to work at home so that left me free to do a fantastic walk which headed up towards Marshside, through Churchtown and onto The Moss which I followed all the way to Pool Hey Lane where I then dropped back down to Scarisbrick and picked up the road back to the Norwoods before turning off and filtering back through some of the quieter roads before joining Sussex Road and onto home. All told this topped out at 23,000+ steps and over ten miles so I was happy all weekend! I even managed to just about get in a 4.25 miles walk around the Hesketh loop and park on Sunday which made for a good start to this week. Tonight however, we have to go food shopping so I might not get out for a walk tonight and I’ll be chasing the daily total all week again. Maybe we should go food shopping on Sundays instead of ambling around garden centres that always have too many sheeple in them!

 

 

Recovering from Lockdown…kind of!

Day 2

During this pandemic I have tried to stay active…

Welcome to day two,  no I didn’t think we’d get here neither!

 

Breakfast was: A conference pear with Blueberries covered in Tesco Greek Yogurt with Honey.

Morning walk was: postponed because of Christine’s OCD about being ready for visitors to the house, it’s a boring story for another day

Lunch was: Part of the remnants of  last night’s Carne sin Chili.

Lunch walk was: A plod around Hesketh Park taking in as few vertical steps as possible…because they hurt.

Evening meal will be a can of Tesco’s lean stewed steak with some spinach and celery.

Evening walk The Hesketh Drive loop…I’m hoping.

 

Recovering from Lockdown

Day 1

During this pandemic I have tried to stay active. With regret, I’ve done something wrong in the pursuit of this.

Although I wouldn’t say I’ve been pounding away and amassing many miles, I did try to do at least my ten thousand steps per day, and some times far in excess of this. However, my legs did start to hurt more and more. At first I wrote this off just to being Southport and its highly uneven pavements…but I did a google around and some of the descriptions of symptoms sounded a bit like mine and to be honest, our diet has been lousy with way too many chips and take-outs….and way too much alcohol on my behalf.

Anyhoo I contacted our Doctors – an event in itself that could turn one to drink, and was given an over-the-phone-diagnosis of “Iliotibial Band Syndrome”. Essentially this is inflammation of a tendon around the side of my right knee. A ‘sports’ injury’ no less, I was almost proud. However, given the GP didn’t even see me in my new found, portly++ status I think the diagnosis might be a bit off, we tend to assume people are relatively fit unless information to the contra is available. The GP has advised me to make an appointment to see the Physiotherapist at the Hospital and I do intend on following through with this…once I find out where I stand with this at work, as I need to be able to get to the hospital during the working day and currently I can’t build up any flexi-time in order to do this.

The above will be sorted as I believe there is a case to say that if I am not afforded the time off; they (my works), will be instrumental in delaying my recovery (and who’s to say that being sat indoors all day every day has not been a causal effect? But, let’s not pretend that I’m free from blame here, I’m not. Now, more than ever, I simply have to take better care of myself. With regards to exercise, for now, baby steps will have to be taken, but taken consistently.   I’m hoping to keep to my 10,000 steps per day, there is no scientific evidence available to say that this figure is at all key, in any way. What this figure does do though is to set a target, 10K steps per day still has to be better than none! For my implementation of my recovery I believe that a morning, noon and night regime of around 3-4 thousand steps gained by walking either around Hesketh Park or by walking around the near-neighbourhood should aid without causing any further damage. This has not been possible lately, but only because of really feeble excuses and I think now it is vital to just get things done…in order to stay alive and not lose any limbs, it’s that important.

Also, I think keeping some sort of journal may help “Tad-ah!” I know that I do struggle to keep to routines for blog / diary type entries, but I have to give it a try, we don’t change without changing, and I really want to change.

Enjoy the header picture, two Willows at Hesketh Park.

Breakfast was: A conference pear with Blueberries covered in Tesco Greek Yogurt with Honey.

Morning walk was: from 07:45 to 08:15, around 3,200 steps.

Lunch was: a can of Sardines with a handful of olives, a large cup of spinach, some Aldi sun-dried tomatoes and three teaspoons of Tesco Chill and Tomato Pesto .

Lunch walk was: a circuit of Leyland Road, Roe Lane and Park Road returning via Queen’s Road  at 1800 steps (The latter half of which were very painful). Then I had a chance to add to the total by going to McColls for a can of kidney beans – they had none, then back home and out again to the Spar for said kidney beans and some milk and some chopped tomatoes.

Evening meal will be a stew of red kidney beans, chopped tomatoes, a chopped pepper, onion, Worcester Sauce (1 tbsp)  250Gm of lean minced beef (5% fat), chestnut mushrooms, a clove of garlic…essentially it’s Chilli con carne but without the Chilli as Chris is a Chilli wimp!

Evening walk didn’t need to happen as I’d got most of my steps in during the day and cleaning the hallway got the rest.

 

The Circle closes

Warning:

This post contains frank and robust language, if you are easily offended (you big snowflake) then you’d be best flouncing off now!

 

I’m fairly sure that I’ve pinched that header from Stephen King’s epic pandemic-themed “The Stand”, kind of poignant given the state of things.

So, what’s been going on?

  1. The world turned to shit – sorry, did you miss that bit?

2. The flat sale fell through, either as a direct result of point “1”, or because one of the below was a complete incompetent:

  • a. The potential buyer, who was a bit soft in the head and for a thirty-something year-old really should learn to speak up for himself.
  • b. Our Solicitors’ “Conveyancer & Team Leader” was at best, a dick!
  • The buyer’s solicitor got fired…or at least that’s what we were told. Personally I think the buyer’s control- freak of a father put that one out there as a delaying tactic to try and get the price down! Never admit you’ve got a purchase lined up folks – some twats will use the possibility of you losing your purchase as a bargaining tool!

3. Both Chris and I have been working from home…and enjoying it, well it’s hard to feel bad about a three-second commute!

There’s no two ways about it, working at / from home is a completely different experience, you get to have the TV or radio on – we’ve chosen to alternate as too much TV can be really quite boring and each mainstream internet radio station has a playlist of about thirty songs, and there’s just only so much Ed Sheeran and Dua Lipa to which you can be subjected!

Now, it’s hard to deny that we are right on the border of comfortable working, the flat is too small for two people to live let alone set up an Argos table and two chairs and two monitors and two laptops every day…but we manage. And I drink a lot of coffee!

Of course I’ve still had to get out and about, whereas some people took every instruction and guideline from our wonky government as gospel…no matter how much we tried to get it mixed up, they said we could do an hour’s exercise, then someone who sounded like they knew what they were talking about said – there was no time limit…I was never going to stick to any time limit anyway and on V.E. Day (to which I still strongly object) I walked close to twelve miles…not in an hour!

I am lucky to live near “The Moss”, a large tract of agricultural land punctuated by the odd road, which only Southport cyclists seem to find worth venturing upon! Thus this leaves most of the area free for me to walk with limited fear of catching Covid 19 off someone hyperventilating, even I have to agree that I couldn’t say the same about a potential walk to either of my two local haunts, the West Pennines and Pendle. In essence, this is a compromise, however, it doesn’t feel one when you’re pounding the pavement on route to Longmeaneygate – yes, that’s really the name of a street, admiring the Cow Parsley and Ragwort, and by God has there been a lot of those aforementioned flowering weeds in bloom this year! In addition I’ve started to ‘Covert! – ‘oh really?’ I hear you wonder, no, nothing sinister, I plucked up the courage to walk through a small wooded area, purely out of curiosity really and its name is Pitts House Covert…I found this vaguely amusing. This little micro-forest has quickly become a favourite and when Chris joins me, even she likes it there, the Photo’s to follow.

So although I’ve not exactly being stomping all over the county (country?) I have been getting in the odd mindful walk to counteract the effects of otherwise being stuck in the flat for almost 24 hours per day, some days.

On a related note, hasn’t it been sodding hot this spring / summer. I’m not against that, but as we live in a first floor flat, lugging 15 litres of water down to hydrate the flowers etc does get to be something of a chore which is why I’ve practically basked in the odd fleeting shower – again photos to come, of the flowers – not me basking!

The lockdown in itself has been good for me. There, I’ve said it. There was no denying that January’s and February’s (God I fucking hate this laptop’s tiny keyboard!) stress over the flat sale and subsequent fail took its toll on me in terms of stress, the lockdown purely and simply took that away. No, I would not have wanted tens of thousands of my fellow countrymen and millions of people across the world to die just so I could destress, that would be ridiculous and inhumane. I’m just saying that for me, it’s worked out, by and large, to be quite therapeutic. I’ve even enjoyed shopping, albeit at the height of the “key workers are angels” phase it was obnoxious being treated as fodder by store workers – hey treat me as you would want me to treat you is all that I would want.

We’ve put the flat back on the market, and up to now: 16/6/2020 we have had three viewers. I was suckered in by the first one who was oh so positive about the place that I thought he was going to put in a bid there are then – I’ve learned, this means ‘I’m too embarrassed to tell you how much I don’t want this place!’ I don’t expect we’ll get any real interest until lockdown is well and truly over and even then it might not be until after Christmas, so we’ll just have to deal with living life as it is and not get stressed. I don’t like stress – it smells metallic, yes it does!

Ultimately with regards to the year thus far, I do find myself harking back to the Amble in February walking along Catherine Edge with the brilliant “Everything I wanted” by Billie Eilish going through my head and just contrasting how different everything was then compared to now.

And as I am ready to click publish, we have just accepted an offer on the Flat – one circle closes…