I should start with a Happy New Year to you all!
It’s been a while since I blogged, and for that I apologise. In all honesty, like a lot of people, I’ve found the bleak and cold winter months in Lockdown difficult and I lost my “Mojo!”. Losing our “Twixmas” break to the Lake District wasn’t a surprise; it was a bit like watching a car crash in slow motion as we got closer and closer to Xmas, and we entered Tier 4 on Boxing Day. Just like that our dreams of seeing in 2021 under the majestic canopy of Scafell in Gandalf were shelved. Cosy thoughts of enjoying a pint in the Wasdale Head were replaced with a bottle of Wainwrights Ale on the Tesco shop.
We rescheduled our campsites to February half term and threw ourselves into life at home, trying to keep our spirits up as much as we could. When news of campsites being closed for the whole of February broke, we rescheduled everything again, this time to Easter. We spent our time working as much as we could online – feeling thankful to have the routine and focus during the week, but struggling massively once we logged off for the weekend. For me, my coping strategy involved working to a list. Weekends were mapped out, with things as menial as what we were having for breakfast and at what time, what film we would watch and at what time, how many chapters of my book would I read and when. Not everyone’s idea of a relaxing weekend I know, but for me it kept me focused, and helped me cope with this sense of loosing our freedom once more.
We’ve been spending a lot of time walking – something which has also helped both our minds. For the third year in a row, we enrolled to the walk 1000 miles challenge and whilst like everyone else so far, we have only managed local walks, which at times feel boring and repetitive, its giving us a focus, and its well documented about the merits of walking when you’re feeling a bit fragile.
Despite the fact that we haven’t been further than Thetford – 9 miles away and where our nearest supermarket is, we’ve found some lovely local walks that we’d never heard of before, and have spent hours pouring over the OS app trying to find some different routes. A highlight of this was finding a disused railway track turned into recreational path just down the road which we hadn’t walked before. Also The Devil’s Punchbowl – just down the road!
Reading has featured a lot in my downtime and I have enjoyed keeping a log of what I read since Xmas.
There have been two stand out reads – the Tim Peake autobiography and Where The Crawdad’s Sing. We’ve watched some great films too and Keith converted our living room into a portable ODEON cinema. Notable films that we enjoyed have been The Martian (we were inspired by the extraordinary NASA coverage of the landing of their Mars Rover), Edie, News of The World, White Tiger and Greenland. Keith rewatched the entire Star Wars collection and I enjoyed The Queens Gambit on Netflix. We also REALLY enjoyed watching Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boreman’s ‘Long Way Round’ and ‘Long Way Down’ documentaries of their travel adventures on Motorbike – the first where they travelled from London to New York but via the East, so Russia and then Alaska/Canada, and the second followed their journey from Lands End to Cape Town; super inspiring- and we can’t believe these were done in 2004 and 2007 and we’ve never watched them before.
We enjoyed taking part in the RSPB Bird count at the end of January and have been enjoying keeping track of our garden wildlife with this outdoor garden camera. We are super excited to bring this with us on our camping trips when they are allowed again, in the hope to pick up some interesting wildlife.
Talking of future camping trips; we’ve finally gotten around to planning some trips for when (or should we say IF) the campsites open again any time soon. We’ve got a few weekend trips lined up for April and May- where we will be using our tailgate awning and using our own facilities, and possibly a few days in Cornwall at the end of May – I say possibly because technically we should be in Peru, which hasn’t been cancelled yet… but I think is highly unlikely to take place. From the end of June, we’ve booked every other weekend away until the start of August, in the hope to complete the Thames Path, an ambition of mine for a while. I spent hours and hours with my head in this terrific book planning a way for us to use Gandalf the Campervan as we walk along the 184 mile National Trail and will be very excited and proud to share our plans and experiences if the country gets itself out of lockdown in time for us to get walking!
Short term plans for the next level of lockdown lifting on March 29th are to walk the Peddars Way path, which goes very close to our house at its most southerly point. We’ve walked as far as Castle Acre a couple of years ago, but have decided in the name of training for the TVP that we will take 4 days over the Easter Holidays to walk the whole length of it from Knettishall Heath to Hunstanton. With the help of my Mum and her car, we can do this as day trips and I think it is allowed by then as we will be remaining in Norfolk (unless things change that is!)
We’ve got Gandalf booked in for his towbar fitting in a couple of weeks which means we can take the bikes out when restrictions ease a touch. I can’t put in to words how much I am looking forward to using him as a leisure vehicle again. Even the thought of just being able to go and pop the top and have a picnic within Norfolk makes me emotional right now.
Having said all of this, we have lots to be thankful for. All of our family have remained safe and well and everyone (including Keith) except my brother in law and me has had their vaccine jab no.1 (or is booked in and about to have it). Whilst I have found it difficult at times to remain positive at times since Christmas, just this last paragraph alone is proof that we have come a long long way since the end of December, and that in itself brings enormous hope for the weeks ahead.
I hope you have all been keeping well. Have you got any trips booked in, or are you waiting to see what happens next?
It’s been lovely writing out my thoughts – I promise not to leave it so long until next time!