Fragmented Thoughts

gratitude

Last week I did a couple of things that I've not done in around six months: slept in a bed that's not my own and went to the pub for a pint. When the roadmap out of lockdown was announced we booked a few nights away in a holiday cottage for the earliest available opportunity. And the time to take that opportunity rolled around last week.

Until we arrived in this peaceful spot, I hadn't realised how much I needed both the change of scenery and the time to fully disconnect and immerse myself in the beautiful countryside of Northumberland and Cumbria.

View from the cottages at Common House Farm

Our only neighbours on the farm where our cottage was located were a family of friendly goldfinches and a field full of sheep and their lambs.

We had some wonerful weather for walking and did a couple of varied routes. First, a loop from Lambley Viaduct that included sections of both the Pennine Way and South Tyne Trail. We got to go under and over the viaduct at varuous points on the route.

Lambley Viaduct from below View of South Tyne river from Lambley viaduct

Our second walk took us along a section of Hadrian's Wall, from Walltown Quarry to Great Chesters. We walked back along the vallum and crossed farmland to Tipal Burn and returned to the start via the ruins of Thirwall Castle.

View of Hadrian's Wall looking East towards Turret 45a

We ended our stay with visits to RSPB Geltsdale and Talkin Tarn.

View over Tindale Tarn from bird hide Derelict buildings at Forest Head Quarry

Other than walking, we did a lot of birdwatching. Over the week we saw:

  • lapwings
  • a curlew
  • a snipe
  • a red grouse
  • partridge
  • tufted ducks
  • whinchats
  • wheatears
  • a reed warbler
  • a great spotted woodpecker, and
  • a skylark

When we weren't outdoors the main activity was reading. I chose to take Matt Haig's The Midnight Library, which I devoured, and Robert Macfarlane's The Old Ways, which helped me think about the paths we we walking in a new way.

I feel ready to return to work next week rested and recharged. Also with a renewed commitment to get out here more regularly for longer walks to top up my personal battery.


This is day 36 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Want to get involved? Find out more at 100daystooffload.com

Tags: #holidays #gratitude

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I've had a few weeks off from writing this list. That was not because there was nothing to say, but because I've been trying to spend more time disconnected and enjoying a wider variety of activities that don't require a screen. So let me catch you up on the things that have been making me smile recently...

  • new binoculars; a great boost for my newfound love of birdwatching
  • discovering #BirdsSeenIn2021, this alongside Dean Wilson's pebble of the day series is reason enough to be on Twitter
  • taking a new approach to my phone use and really feeling the benefits
  • a couple of long walks a little further afield; exploring different sections of the region's waggonways and including a return to the coast
  • another successful virtual weekend away
  • and last but not least, a win for Newcastle today

Tags: #gratitude

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Signs of Spring are certainly a recurring theme in these lists at the moment. Perhaps because the changing seasons are the only thing that differs from week to week at the moment.

Anyway, here's what's brought a smile to my face this week:

  • a sunny day after a week of grey
  • bullfinches on the bird feeders in the park
  • not just the sight of blossom but the smell, oh my the smell is intoxicating
  • the realisation that I'm so much into the running groove that I can even go out when I'm not really feeling in the mood for it
  • having the option to self-define sexuality and gender on the census

Tags: #gratitude

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If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it. ...whatever it is, don’t be afraid of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.

When I saw these lines in a recent newsletter from James Clear it made me smile. They're from Mary Oliver's poem Don't Hesitate which we had as a reading at our wedding.

It's a poem that asks us to remember that among all the terrible things that happen in the world and amidst all our errors of judgment, there's still possibility. There's still joy if we take the time to notice and nurture it.

Here you can hear Don't Hesitate read in full.


This is day 33 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Want to get involved? Find out more at 100daystooffload.com

Tags: #poetry #gratitude #noticing

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Some weeks these lists are hard to write. Not for the lack of things to put on them but that other things happening in the world make each item feel insignificant. And then I remember, that's exactly why I write them.

So here's a selection of things that keep me smiling:

  • my parents got their first vaccine dose
  • planning a summer refresh for the yard, including making a scale drawing to try out options
  • an impromptu walk along the river with Izz
  • buds bursting and the first sign of blossom
  • a successful first foray into making chicken kiev

Tags: #gratitude

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This week's list of little things:

  • my longest run of the year so far
  • finally finishing The Count of Monte Cristo
  • the moon
  • a restock of beer from the pub
  • first day warm enough to wear shorts

This is day 29 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Want to get involved? Find out more at 100daystooffload.com

Tags: #gratitude

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Rounding off another week with a list of things that keep me smiling:

  • being in control of my own schedule — allowing me to take time off for a mid-afternoon game of Carcasonne with my nephews
  • getting back into a running rhythm after the snow
  • starting a new series of ER (we’re at 11/15 after started the marathon in the second UK lockdown)
  • another stay at home hair cut and the best one yet
  • exploring a different park and new sections of the region's wagonways

This is day 24 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Want to get involved? Find out more at 100daystooffload.com

Tags: #gratitude

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Over the years I’ve periodically posted lists of the small, everyday things that I’m grateful for. Along with many other things I’ve chosen to commit to lately is making this a weekly thing.

So without further ado, here’s my first (of this incarnation at least) list of reasons to be cheerful:

  • the honesty of children: “Can we stop Zoom now?” said my nephew part-way through a family birthday call... he got his wish
  • an extra few moments of light in the evening
  • walking on fresh snow
  • getting to that point in a book where all the loose threads start coming together... and you can’t bear to put it down
  • cosy new pyjamas

This is day 18 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Want to get involved? Find out more at 100daystooffload.com

Tags: #gratitude

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