on moving towards new beginnings

the saying goes that a rolling stone gathers no moss, I am sure there is truth in that.  I also know that a rolling snowball attracts more snow as it moves.  I, on the other hand, had not moved at all for years and yet now I am on track things are moving all around me.

As I began my journey to fitness early this year I had no clue where the road would take me.  At best I thought I might lose a bit of weight, feel a bit healthier and perhaps get more mobility.  All that happened and more.  I am now, some six months on, fitter, lighter and happier.  All is well.

So, here I am, still in my kitchen, sitting at the table writing my blog.  I have just come in from a two and a half mile walk, mostly in the rain, and I am realising that one of the most positive things I get from walking is thinking time.

In my busy life there is always something that needs my attention.  I go from place to place, from space to space getting on with stuff, a hundred different things to remember, a dozen jobs needing doing.  In the background there is noise, the radio, tv, people chatting, my ears are full of sounds that assault my thoughts.

This morning walking in the cold, damp Peak District air, I saw almost no one else. A couple of dog walkers on the other side of the street and me, walking in the world, alone with my thoughts.  It is mighty powerful stuff.

Today my thoughts are on my plans to help and encourage others to walk well, as I have done.  On how I can reach out and motivate those who believe that they cannot exercise at all. I am mostly thinking of how my life used to be.  The days I couldn’t walk for pain in all my joints, when I sat on the sofa with chocolate, kidding myself I was happy with me.

Well, I am happier now for sure.  It would appear that I am not a rock gathering no moss as I move, I am much more the snowball, attracting like minded people as I roll on down life’s hills and dales. Things are coming together, but I am under no illusions.  I am still me, I still worry about stuff, still get cross about injustice and unfairness in the world and I need time to think about all of this.

Walking gives me this time.  To just be.  Putting one foot in front of another towards the rest of my life.

million Steps – day 36 – ups and downs


Today finds me once again in the Welsh hills and it is a warm and sunny morning.  Walking along the sea front I am regretting wearing my leggings, it is far too warm.  I love the sea, but today there is no wind and for once the three mile walk is too hot to be comfortable.

Back at base and hubby is up and about.  We chat about how to spend the rest of the day.  Perhaps another walk?  There are some new circular routes I want to try, but hubby is not convinced.  I suggest the Great Orme, and he says this is a great idea.

For those not familiar with the North Wales landscape the Great and Little Ormes  are hills that sit opposite each other either side of the bay at Llandudno.  The Great Orme being the biggest has a railway and cable cars to take you to the summit.  We decided to try and walk up there.

We walk up a passageway and at the top there is a choice of which way to walk.  We plump for the Invalids Walk, surely that won’t be too difficult.  It isn’t at all but we seem to be walking away from the summit.  We find a path heading up but after a short while we abandon it, the steep drops and uneven ground are not for me.

Heading back we pick up the road and head uphill.  To say the road is steep is not doing it justice.  It is very, very steep.  It is still warm and sunny and soon we are very hot indeed.  We pause for breath and talk about giving up, walking back down to the sea front and getting an ice cream perhaps.  Hubby and I are more determined than that and begin to climb again.  Steeper and steeper, this is not an easy walk, and yet when we pause to look behind up the view is amazing.  Encouraged we continue.  Eventually the road flattens out and we follow grassy paths up towards the top.  By now we are feeling a little bit full of ourselves and are looking on those driving to the top with disdain.

Another couple of stops, this time for photos, not to get our breath back, and we are at the summit.  The views from here are stunning, we can see for miles and miles.  We stop to purchase our ice cream and sit enjoying the view.  How quickly we have forgotten the strain of those first hills, how good do we feel? this is a real achievement.  I am reminded of how life used to be.  When I wouldn’t dare walk far at all as the pains in my joints could at times seize up completely.  Now here I am walking up the Great Orme!!

Ice cream and self-congratulations finished we set off around the summit and begin to climb down. The view on the other side is of a vast expanse of the Irish Sea, and below us we can see the remains of an ancient village on the side of the hill.  I begin to wonder about the families that lived here, it must have been a hard life.

As we wend our way down the grassy paths, we are in great spirits.  Tired, obviously, but buoyed by our determination not to give up and our success on reaching the top.  I find downhill hard on my knees but with my hubby to hold my hand anything is possible.

It makes me think of the life we have built together, how we have faced really tricky times, times when it would have been so easy to give up, and yet we didn’t.  Together we made it through.  In fact life has been just like our walk today.  Times when progress was slow, when we needed to stop and breathe, to make decisions, do we carry on or change our route? Times when I was too tired and sore to move, and times when the sun has been on our backs and life is good.

It seems to me that we are not only defined by what we achieve, but we also defined by what we try to achieve, and what we learn along the way.

Eventually we are back in town and we decide to treat ourselves to fish and chips. As we sit in the late afternoon sunshine, we decide that this has been a wonderful day.  I am once again thankful to Diabetes UK for giving me the motivation to move, and to my hubby for always walking by my side throughout all our ups and downs.

Today I added over 21,000 steps to my total, the million is firmly in sight. Tomorrow I may rest awhile.

Million steps – day thirty four

A lovely long walk this morning, through the town and out onto country lanes, it makes a difference walking with a friend.  As we walk we are chatting and stopping every now and again to look at the views.

I am so lucky to live somewhere where the countryside is so accessible.  From my front door within a mile I am in the middle of fields and hedgerows.  We see rabbits scampering across the field and in the distance are sheep and cattle.

Today the weather was kind, warm and bright sunshine lifted the spirits and the mood.  It is easier to walk with the sun on your back, although it did get a little warm.  I left my friend near her home and carried on for a mile or so homeward bound.

This early morning world really suits me, I arrive home ready for breakfast and have more energy than ever.  Today mundane jobs in the house are calling and I spend longer than I would have liked on housework.  It is always good to remember that, perhaps, three months ago I couldn’t do much at all.  Now cleaning and sorting is all in a days work. I couldn’t be more grateful.

Another reason to be grateful today is that I have another sponsor on my fundraising page.  This brings the total to more than double the total I set for myself.  It is wonderful and all thanks to Diabetes UK.

million steps – day twenty nine – fruit and football

The early morning walk this morning set me up for a very busy day.  I needed to buy fruit before breakfast so changed my walk in order to call at the supermarket on the way home. It made a nice change.  I walked through the shopping streets and along a busy enough road, for a minute there was no traffic and I was amazed to hear so much bird song, just shows what is hidden behind the noise of everyday life.

Anyway fruit was purchased and I made my way the last quarter of a mile towards home. Again carrying a heavy bag I was reminded of how much weight I used to carry with me all the time, at least this burden is put down once I get home.

The rest of the day was busy, big changes in our little shop meant moving lots of heavy items around.  This is something I would not have been able to do just three months ago. Eventually it is done and it is time to pop home to get ready to go out.

When a football club invites you to talk about your charity there are a number of things you may well expect to happen.  It is a function, in a club bar.  There are over a hundred and fifty people there.  What I didn’t expect was to be in such a welcoming and nurturing space.  The walls are decked with banners, they read:  Football has no gender, We are all immigrants, refugees welcome.  It is an extraordinary place.  It is run mostly by men, who all decided that they wanted to do football differently.  And that is what they do.  We were made so welcome and our talk went down really well.  The rest of the evening was great fun too.

It taught me a lesson. Once again I was forced to acknowledge how my preconceptions can be so far off the mark.  My colleague who was with me commented on the way home how the evening felt very much like an evening we attended at a Church Fellowship.  I knew exactly what she meant.  That night was run by women of a certain age, who made tea, sold items and listened equally attentively to our talk.  They also welcomed us and were interested in what we do.  So very different and yet so much alike.

I suppose the lesson I take away is that kindness is everywhere.  People reach out to help and support from every area of life.  The clever trick is to make sure you are open to see what is around.  From birdsong behind the traffic noise, to warmth on a football pitch, it is there if you look for it.

By the end of the night, and it was a late one, I had clocked up over 16,000 steps towards my million steps.  Today was a good day.

Million steps – days twenty six and seven

Monday’s walk was nothing out of the ordinary, usual route, usual steps.  Just saying it is crazy, to casually say it’s usual for me to be walking!

Tuesday started wet and windy, for the first time in a week or so I needed to wear my coat.  I did a fast route covering a couple of miles before the rain stopped and sun was starting to show.

Later I travelled with my daughter in law and beautiful Granddaughter to visit a very special place.  We went to the seaside, to a park where fairies live.  My gorgeous little girl loves fairies very much.  The first thing we saw was a wooden house, oh the excitement as we opened a tiny door and inside there were the fairies.  The look of wonder on a little face made my heart happy.  There were other fairy houses dotted around and we spent a happy hour peeping inside and squealing with delight.

I feel so happy to have a lovely family and am ever grateful I am fit enough to have fun with them.  We walked along the sea front to the beach where I was able to take a photo of my Granddaughter and her Mummy standing on the sand with the river behind them.  A poignant moment for me, as I have a photo of me as a two year old on the same sand, in almost the same place, with my Mum standing beside me.

The circle of life I guess.  My Mum never got to meet any of her Grandchildren, sadly it was not to be, so I feel the love and fortune all the more for having these special people in my life.  Down there on the beach with the same river lapping the shore, I feel connected to my past more than anywhere else in the world.  I am thinking of childhood summers on the shore, picnics and play, I am thinking of me on roller skates up and down the seafront and later as a teenager looking at the water and imagining the world at the end of the waves.

Our home town is miles away from the sea, my Granddaughter will grow up with the hills as her world not the sea, but just spending one day, on the beach and the circle feels complete.  She will never know the family who would have loved her so very much but I hope she will always understand the connections we have to the river, to the sand and most of all to each other.

By the time we arrived home I had completed a respectable 14,000 plus steps on a sunny day when memories were both remembered and made.

million steps – day twenty five

this million steps takes some walking, every day I am adding to my total but the end seems a long way to go.  I was delighted to have taken my 400,000 step sometime today, not bad from the woman that never walked anywhere.

I reckon 400,000 steps is about 170 miles or so, which is about the distance from my home town to London!!  Every step has counted, and every step has helped me to fitness.  Some days are difficult and others a breeze.

Today was a good day, I started with the short walk I had done with hubby last night, it was lovely to be in the countryside rather than the town, even if only for a mile or so, I then carried on with a few diversions, following one of my regular routes.  By the time I was nearly home I was feeling it, the pedometer registered just over four miles, it felt much more.

I have again been contacted by a friend, a woman just like me, who is going to start walking.  This thing has legs for sure!!  You see when the woman who never walked anywhere is walking 400,000 steps everyone else knows they can do it to.

Big love to the guys at Diabetes UK for thinking this challenge up at exactly the right time to inspire me.  I hope they make lots of cash, and get even more people putting one foot in front of another.  It really is that simple.

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 twenty one – going red

A quicker than normal walk this morning meant I was playing catch up with steps all day long.  Lots of exercise though.  We had hundreds of rubble sacks to load onto a van, most had to be moved up a flight of stairs too, so lots of energy was required.

Home after lunch I was waiting for my lovely hairdresser to come and cut my hair.  Since losing weight I am choosing a shorter style,  but it was time for a new colour.  When reaching for my ‘normal’ colour in the supermarket my eye was drawn to different shades.

I picked a lovely reddish brown, dark and warm and more like my original colour.   Anyway half an hour or so later and it was done.  I looked so different, but in a good way. Hairdresser arrived and cut it all just a little bit shorter, just what I wanted.

Since starting this challenge for Diabetes UK I have made so many changes.  Less food, more exercise, lots more walking and less sweet treats.  However becoming a redhead albeit reddish brown, is the most striking change yet.  I love it.  Oh and yes I managed to achieve 13,000 odd steps too.


million steps – day eighteen

to be honest a million steps is a lot of steps to walk.  At least that is what I was thinking on my morning walk today.  I was on my usual route, with a slightly longer diversion, to avoid boredom, as I clocked up about 7500 steps.  At least it was dry and a very pleasant morning to walk in.  But a million steps is still a lot of steps.

When I reached the 300,000 mark I thought I was well on my way, and I suppose that is true.  However there is still over 600,000 steps to do to reach my target.  I am beginning to wonder how many different routes I can devise to make this more interesting.

Later I drove to join my lovely hubby at our caravan in North Wales.  After almost two hours driving I was ready to move, so as soon as we had had lunch we drove the short way to the coast and walked along the seafront.  Steps done with company disappear much more quickly that those done alone, and by the time we returned I had clocked up enough to make the days tally respectable.

I always knew it would be a challenge, the woman who didn’t move much for ten years or more is certainly more active that I would have dreamed possible, but 600,000 is a mission.  Luckily I am sure I am up to it, and if I can do it anyone can.  Thanks to Diabetes UK for motivating me, I really am doing the best I can.


million steps – day seventeen – lazy Sunday afternoon

Summer arrived today.  Unannounced and unexpected, the day became warmer and warmer.  Out walking in the early morning, there was a lot of cloud but it felt warm and there was, for once, no rain.

Home again after breakfast the sun was peeping through the kitchen window so I took my book outside to sit on the decking for a while.  I soon came indoors to change into cooler clothing and as I sat and sat outside I could feel the warmth on my face increasing by the minute.

Our back yard is a sociable space.  Our house is the second in a terrace of six, in a terrace street of lots of houses.  From our decking we can see our neighbours and they can see us. As ever the sunshine is bringing people outside and soon I am joined by a neighbour on my decking.  As we chat about all that we believe to be going wrong in this world, another neighbour comes out and joins in.  So there we are, in the sunshine, putting the world to rights and mostly, but not completely in agreement.

I was very glad I had done a longer early morning walk today, for I did very little after that. Today is possibly my lowest step count since the challenge for Diabetes UK began.  By bedtime I had clocked up a miserable 11,000 odd steps.  Still within my daily target but not good enough.  Tomorrow is another day.