Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Englishcountrywalks

Just surfing and found this fabulous website - I haven't booked on one of their walks yet but just browsing through the pics I feel as if I have done one. Of course my favourites are in the Chilterns - Miss Whistle, you will love this one . The photos and the blog layout are really dramatically effective making you want to haul out the walking boots and get on out there. Today was a perfect September day - summer has at last arrived without a cloud in the sky. Sadly the swallows have flown but the still air was full of lazy wasps and flighty ladybirds and one solitary Red Kite circling high on the thermals. I must get my camera out tomorrow and capture the wonderfulness of it all.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Wild Swimming

When we were kids all swimming was wild. My dad would plunge naked into icy water at the drop of a hat and expected us all to do the same - we drew the line at naked. Nowadays all the pools are indoors, the beautiful Chess valley is 'protected' by barbed wire and the rivers round here are depleted streams. However this weekend promises perfect weather perhaps for the last time this year so the urge is strong despite a heavy cold. Kill or cure in fact. Favourite rivers: the Thames - nearby, steady and very clean west of Marlow; the Wye - deep pools, flat rocks, quiet places; the Elan - cold, peaty, invigorating!  Best beaches: Manorbier, Walton on the Naze. Join me!                                               






Friday, 23 September 2011

Summer slips into Autumn

Summer came early this year and so it seems has Autumn. The mornings have been misty this week and though the sun has broken through and the skies are clear and blue, there is an edge to the air. The upside is that the cloudy August days and frequent showers have kept the garden flowers blooming long after they would normally have faded. This is my newly planted shady corner - I thought I had chicken proofed it but they seem to be able to get in anyway and the plants are doing ok.
The patio rose has flowered since early May, bright and clear, smothered in blooms. I bought in a batch of ladybirds and have fed it a couple of times but it seems that water is the thing that really keeps it going - this good old English weather!
I have half a dozen similar single roses in all shades of pink ranging from a coral one climbing below my window to a wild dog rose at the gate. They seem quite happy here and don't, touch wood, suffer from all the usual pestilences.
 I have watered and dead headed this beautiful little pink marguerite - tell me the name if you know different- all summer and it has been covered
in flowers like this for almost five months. They start off a bright, deep pink but look pretty as they fade and all the time more are coming on. I bought three little plants on the market and planted them in an old beer crock; they lift my spirits every day. 
The lupins are on their third flowering and even the rhodadendron that my husband had a hack at has a second flush of flowers. The holly round here was white with blossom in late Spring and is now heavy with berries. Does this mean it will be a hard Winter? 





Saturday, 17 September 2011

it's all about me!

I don't usually flaunt pics of myself, in fact I notice every lump and bump and delete anything unflattering before anyone else gets to see it. Also I'm sorry to say I am not at all a smiley person although I would very much like to be. But when I saw this I could not stop smiling at that triumphant, smiling alter ego of mine. This is how I like to be seen: fit, healthy and happy, a real Alpha female. The truth is that I am not. I have some lucky genes, boost my energy levels and mood with caffeine & sugar and always carry prescription drugs in my bag. I entered the event in a fit of high minded optimism and could not back out. How anyone can be both lazy and competetive is a mystery but I have registered for next year, sworn to better my time by at least 30, shall we say 40 minutes and if I am out training before next August it will be a miracle!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Cycletta South

Shamefully, I have neglected my blog all summer, but today I have something to write about and then, with the aid of a few pics, there is a bit of catching up to do!
A few months ago I read 'Cutting for Stone' by Abraham Verghese - a haunting and evocative novel which led me to the true story behind the plot: in 1958 Catherine Hamlin and her husband moved to Addis Adaba thus beginning a lifetime's work to restore health and a livelihood to women damaged by birthing injuries. The story, of young girls often genitally mutilated, married very young, left to labour for hours without medical support or intervention is a tragic one. The child is almost invariably lost and the mother left incontinent and thus a social outcast. Over more than half a century the Hamlins have pioneered repair, treatment and care. In her eighties Catherine is still at the heart of the hospital.
I have just finished a fundraising ride - see the link - over our beautiful Chiltern Hills and hope that as well as raising my target amount I will have flagged up the charity. This is my first pic - me with the Olympic gold medallist Victoria Pendleton.(I am the one with the cheesy grin and the chinstrap double chin, she is the drop dead gorgeous, totally fit one!) There were lots of cameras and a couple of profile raising opps that I did not miss out on so hope to have some more links up soon! I am now off to spend the rest of Sunday afternoon on the sofa with a good book...........