Million steps – weekend walking – days twenty three and twenty four

it has been another bright warm and sunny weekend, great for getting out and about and walking.  Sadly on Saturday my body felt otherwise.  I was up early and out of the door before 6.30am but I just couldn’t get going.  I felt sluggish, tired and was generally not feeling it at all.  I stopped often, took photographs, seeing the town in the early morning glow was great, I decided not to worry, at least I was out and about, and any exercise is better than none.

A busy afternoon in the shop followed by fun with my Granddaughter clocked up enough steps for the day, and by evening I was feeling fit again.  I was thinking hard about how to vary my steps and decided to do something different on Sunday.

Sunday morning I had a lie in, I was up and out by 8.30am and planned to combine walking with swimming, to give me a change in activity.  Rather than walk the direct route to the pool I set off on my usual route, eventually arriving in the park and at the pool.  I used to love swimming, in my youth I was always in the water, the sea, the swimming pool, where ever I could swim I swam.

The last time I tried to swim my pains were strong and I was fearful of not being able to climb out of the water.  I decided to give up.  That was a few months ago, things have changed.  Once in the pool and swimming I remembered how much I love being in water. I managed a few lengths and felt well.  I walked the rest of my usual route home, feeling quite energetic and back on track.

By late afternoon I had completed chores, walked to the supermarket and then spent too long on my laptop.  I decided it was time to get outdoors.  Hubby agreed to come with me and we set off together.  We did a quickish circuit from home, winding down a country lane, enjoying the green and pleasant land all around us.  Almost home and the rain started, falling light at first it quickly became heavy.  It was deliciously cooling and refreshing.  We made it back before we were too wet.

So, another weekend in this crazy challenge,  I managed to walk about 27, 000 steps towards a fitter me and closer to completing Diabetes UK’s challenge.

million steps – day 7 – on puddles

to be honest I have been feeling exhausted today.  I was out early this morning and completed my usual distance but it was a bit of a struggle.  I had a difficult moment in the park when an enormous dog was barking a lot and running around, I like big dogs as much as I like cows.  I managed to find myself a short cut through a hotel car park to avoid it, but this then meant I was off my route, from then on it was a struggle to get back in the walking zone.  For once I was very glad to be home.

I was just sorting the last of the chores when my gorgeous Granddaughter arrived to play. Waving off her lovely Mummy, we settled in to enjoy her mid morning snack.  The weather was looking a bit grey outside, but as the rain was not actually falling we set off for the park.  All the way down the hill my lovely girl is telling me about everyone she loves.  She loves her Mummy and her Daddy and her Nana, she loves her Aunty and she loves Thomas the Tank Engine, well to be more specific she loves Rosie who I think is a bus.  As ever when I am with her I see the world through her eyes.  Wagons thunder passed and she tells me ‘they are very noisy Nana’  she is not wrong.

We leave the main road behind us and wander towards the park.  We pass a building site and we stop to watch the diggers and the machinery, I am almost delighted to see one of the machines is being operated by a young woman.  This I feel is good for my Granddaughter who hopefully won’t grow up with the stereotypes of my youth.  As we are watching the builders the rain starts to fall fast.  It is that soaking fine rain that leaves you so wet without you really noticing.  We get a move on and are soon in the cafe in the park. Here is the soft play area she loves so much, and the good coffee I enjoy.

As I keep a careful watch over her playing I am touched by how she reaches out to the other children.  She smiles at everyone and is not fazed at all by new faces.  It makes me wonder when do we lose that, if we do lose it of course.  I am still the person who smiles at strangers, but I do know lots of other people don’t.   We build towers and knock them over and she shouts me from across the play area,’Nana, look at me!!’ Soon my coffee is finished and the rain has stopped.  Time to head out into the park.

Sadly the rain means the swings and slide are not usable just now, they are far too wet, but the rain has left other play opportunities.  My Granddaughter loves puddles.  She is suitably dressed in her wellies and raincoat and her infectious laughter as she runs from one puddle to another is attracting attention.  People stop to watch her, everyone is smiling, especially me.  We spend lots of time looking for and then jumping in puddles.  It occurs to me that I had forgotten the fun they can bring.

As we walk back home she is chatting away, ‘I love puddles, Nana’ she says. I am reminded that without the rain we would not have had any puddles, and surely this is as it is, always. If I wasn’t walking for Diabetes UK we would probably have used the car to go out and I probably would have gone home when the rain came down so much.  I may have missed out on the puddle jumping and a lovely morning of fun and laughter.

The step count today is less that on previous days but I have still done almost six miles, some of it making precious memories with my gorgeous girl.


on homesick blues

today my daughter is returning from holiday, she has had a week in the sunshine, they have swam and danced and laughed a lot, no doubt she will be bronzed and healthy looking when we pick her up from the airport later. Another thing I am in not in doubt about is that she will be fed up to be back at home. I think this girl is destined to live her life in sunny climes, and to come home to a soggy wet June afternoon will not suit her at all.

Wondering, as you do when you are a Mum, just what will make her happy I am remembering how she was last year living in the sunshine, how she seemed much more of herself and how much the environment we live in affects us all. Hopefully she will find her happy place and live there, but in the meantime we will be dealing with homesick blues, at least until she settles back into the routine of everyday life.

At her age I was living in a student house with very little cares or worries.  I was having fun living in the city and never thinking of tomorrow.  I had just had my own adventure, hitching rides across Europe and seeing places and meeting people I could never have imagined. When I look back on those happy times I realise that that was probably the last time in my life I was free from worry or care.  Soon after things began to change and within six years I had a family of my own and was dealing with poorly and dying parents.  I can clearly feel the person I was back then, and wish I could have held onto the freedom a bit longer.

The house I shared was minutes away from the city centre where there were bands to see, boys to meet and dancing to be done.  My housemates were funny clever people, all from very different backgrounds to me and we rubbed along well.  We had a rota for chores and a communal shopping list, we laughed a lot back in the day. Money was scarce, we had none really, student grants were limited and none of us worked.  Studying happened infrequently and mainly the days were full of adventure, taking washing to the bag wash, buying cheap bacon bits from Tesco and raiding the phone money box to buy beer.  Simple stuff, parties and friends and absolutely no responsibility at all.

The memories from those days carried me through a lot of my adult life.  They also informed my parenting. I understand the need to try new things, to live a bit dangerously and to make your own mistakes.  I had to fight my parents for every bit of freedom I grabbed back when I was young.  They believed in being responsible, in settling down and in being safe  Things I never could imagine wanting to do.

The irony is that once they had gone, I became that safe, responsible person, who worked hard, brought up a family and who, every now and again, would remember the freedom of the past.  It has taken almost forty years for the circle to move around, and although I still have worries and cares, of course I do, I have children and now a granddaughter to worry about, now I am starting to be free again.

I am not planning to recreate the past, for the past is gone, but I am hoping to get back the feelings.  I hope that I will be able to spend time in the places that make me happy, with people that are fun and I will laugh a lot.  You see it is still me, I am still here, I have been hiding under a cloak of responsibility for a long time, dealing with the real life of growing a family, that job is almost done, I am about to shake off the cloak and start to be me again, because really I haven’t changed at all.