2016: the year of spaciousness

Because there's more to life than work

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Some days, you just need to run…

I have been so grateful recently for getting back into a regular running practice. I’m still only doing short distances – about 2.5 miles – but it’s getting more each week, and I just love the way that everything else fades away once I set off. There’s a lot of stuff getting me down right now, but running is one thing that really helps. Especially on a day like today where the sun is warm and colours seem extra bright.

IMG_2051How can anyone not be cheered up by those amazing primary colours?? And how great it is that some planning person back in the thirties thought about planting trees on the streets that I run through every week! One road near where I live is lined with apple, pear and plum trees – they’re getting a bit old now and have noticed that as the council remove them they’re replaced by non-fruiting ones. I suppose they’re more concerned these days about being sued by someone slipping on windfalls, but what a missed opportunity to encourage people to pick and eat fruit.

IMG_2052Not that the other trees aren’t lovely too – this rowan was dazzling in the sun.

IMG_2053I do find that taking photos makes me look at things more closely, just like drawing does. The range of colours on this tree isn’t obvious at a distance, but when you get up close it’s just mind boggling.

Half an hour and a couple of miles later, things were seeming much better. We may not get fall colours like America does over here (if you want to see some truly stunning foliage shots have a look at Rowdy Kitten’s blogpost earlier this week), but it’s not half bad 🙂



The positive side of having a cold

  • You have a good excuse for not working over the weekend
  • You can’t taste anything, so you eat less which means you can make up for it when you’re better
  • You get to regress to childhood with cold cures (always Schweppes bitter lemon in our household, weirdly. My mum insisted the quinine in it made you better.)
  • Sitting around in your dressing gown for half the day is expected rather than a sign that you’re on a spiral of decline
  • Basic tasks that require no brain power get done because you’re too tired to do anything else – I sewed up a hat yesterday that I actually finished knitting last February. It took just 20 minutes.


  • Once you start feeling better you feel fantastic – I’ve just been for a run round the local park, seen squirrels, marvelled at the leaves turning, dodged kids knocking conkers down from trees and feel utterly brilliant.

Cold – what cold?

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Soggy to sublime

Today started out grim at 7am – rain, gales and two visits for my other half to the doctor (sprained ankle) and hospital (broken arm). Not the best of days to look forward to. But by 7pm tonight the rain had stopped, the sun was out and my partner had had his plaster cast removed – yay!


Love this sunset pic – reminds me of Maxfield Parrish paintings which always feature this type of sky, golden clouds and blue sky promising better things to come. Hope your day improved as much as ours did!

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Counting blessings

Well, this week has been a good one for life lessons. I came home on Thursday to find my other half in hospital, having fallen off the ladders while trying to fix some tiles on our roof. Thankfully he ‘just’ has a badly broken wrist, 2 dislocated fingers, a sprained ankle and a banged head, but it could have been so much worse. The last couple of days have been filled with us trying to adjust our normal routine – just getting dressed is full of new challenges as he can’t use his left hand at all. I have also discovered that I am the world’s worst nurse – I just seem to have no idea of how to do practical things for other people (perhaps because we don’t have kids and I was the youngest in my family), and we were both in hysterics at my pathetic attempts to help him get dry after a bath.

By yesterday afternoon though we’d both settled down a bit. He’d gone to meet some friends in town, and I’d collapsed with a book in the garden. The sun was hot enough to be in a t-shirt and everything around was really starting to blossom. This is the magnolia that just last week was bursting its buds:


It’s even more amazing close up:



And I sat there in these lovely surroundings and thought how incredibly lucky we were that we were both able to do those things on such a glorious day, and that we weren’t instead trying to confront all the much more serious ways that things could have turned out. And realising that this has been, despite it all, a blessing, will hopefully make it easier to adjust until he gets the use of his arm back.


And by the time the green shoots of the day lilies at the back of this photo start to show their yellow flowers, things will hopefully be back to normal.

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Running free

Today’s been a really good day! I went for not just one but two runs! In case that sounds too impressive, I should probably qualify it by saying that they were just round my block (a whole 0.7134 miles – thanks http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/!) But that’s nearly a mile and a half, and the second time I did it without stopping, so really pleased. Had a very intensive day slaving over a hot laptop, so that slap of fresh (sorry, icy) air at lunch and before tea really brightened me up – and only took about 10 mins each time.

I do like the idea of taking regular exercise breaks when I’ve been hunched over typing for too long, but often find it hard to tear myself away. Doing the runs at bigger punctuation points in the day made sense, and seemed less daunting than finding a bigger chunk of time for a longer run – I haven’t managed to fit one of those in for a while. Plus, research recently has shown that shorter bursts of exercise can be more effective than prolonged ones – so a definite winner http://www.nhs.uk/news/2013/02February/Pages/Short%20bursts-of-exercise-good-for-heart.aspx

Last year I was about to give up on running – no matter how much I practiced, I never could build up the ability to run more than the space between 2 lampposts without getting out of breath. Then a blood test showed I was highly anaemic and I started taking iron tablets – and have never looked back. Having had asthma for more than 20 years I assumed that had been my problem – turned out there was just so little iron in my blood there was nothing moving oxygen to my lungs.

So I enjoyed getting these on again today, and hopefully it won’t be so long before we head out together again.