5 Jan 2010

I stole some time to get some fresh air

Some days, whilst you know you have a lot to get done; that persistent and pressing niggle of work that needs your attention – outstanding paperwork, bills to pay, e-mails to answer, you actually get more achieved by actually totally ignoring it and just literally walking away from it. Yesterday was one such day.

After the laziness and over-indulgence of the festive period (which has its own rewards from time to time too) and being house-bound due to weather conditions, expected deliveries and waited-upon phone calls, my son and I were climbing the walls wanting to get out and stretch our legs. As the morning progressed, it was obvious that it was going to be one of those fabulously special winter days when the air is dry, crisp and the sun bright and you just want to be out in it.

I’ve never been afraid of the cold, whilst I don’t do well in it due to suffering with Reynauds, I have good outdoor gear and an extensive collection of hats, gloves and scarves and so we wrapped up and headed out, small camera bag over my shoulder – even on my usual daily walk I always take a camera.

Please click through the photographs below to see larger versions, they end up rather dark on the pages here.

I’ve photographed this scene in many weathers and seasons and this was about as pretty as it gets.

It was treacherous underfoot – snow that fell on 17th December and had been added to several times since, had variously melted, been disturbed and re-frozen several times, to leave an underlying blanket of hard, rutted, very slippery and pretty unpleasant ice. Atop which another couple of inches of snow had fallen – just enough to disguise the underlying ice to keep you fully aware of every step and to ensure the placing of feet most carefully.

Looks can be deceiving, the icy mud under the snow made for an interesting walk here.

A few years ago after getting stranded 3 miles from home in similar conditions underfoot when buses stopped running and getting home totally exhausted from the walk, trying to remain upright without pulling too many muscles, I invested in some Spiky rubber over-soles for my shoes – they’re like large heavy duty, shaped rubber bands impressed with hard wearing metal studs, that you stretch over your shoes or boots and they give a fabulously confidence-boosting level of grip to already good footwear, which may not always be enough on such days. The Spikys are perfect for such conditions and I don’t get to use them to their full advantage very often. I felt that I got my money’s worth in that one session.

A nearby waterfall that looks spectacular in cold weather.

I was most glad of them yesterday, I couldn’t possibly contemplate such a walk without them. I was able to walk pretty normally at a decent speed on terrible surfaces and combined with my walking pole, made good progress.

The sheep were digging through the snow, but seemed to be finding things to eat.

It felt fabulous to get out in the fresh air, blow the cobwebs out and stretch my legs – I hadn’t realised that I was actually getting to like my daily walk as much as I was and that I’d actually reached the stage of missing it. A considerable amount of the pleasure was being in the company of my 22 year old son, something I certainly do miss now he’s away at university most of the time – I didn’t even mind the daft hat he selected. We returned home feeling totally revived – it’s odd how sometimes strenuous exercise and working up a sweat actually invigorates and totally revitalises you. I got more work done once home than I probably would have done without taking that break. The time spent was well-invested.

I find myself drawn to the geometry of fence posts to photograph.

I must remember this on days when I feel jaded and the workload ahead of me feels insurmountable.

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