Slow and steady

Moving slowly through the UK countryside


Photo Challenge: Grand yews – or elderly ladies?

Weekly photo challenge: Grand

This challenge made me think of a grand garden that we visited a while back (just checked – goodness, it was eight years ago), where there was this wonderful hedge of topiaried yews.  It was at Powis Castle in the Welsh Borders.  The wall beneath, with its elegant flower-pots in pilastered niches is rather grand too.

The yews made us think of a row of elderly ladies, sitting waiting for a bus to arrive, though that is perhaps not such a ‘grand’ idea.

Topiaried yews at Powis Castle

Powis Castle – a garden on a grand scale




A response to this photo challenge

I enjoyed this photo challenge.  OK, so one of them isn’t a light, but its shape makes it look as though it ought to be. Doesn’t that make a lovely lampshade? I like the mysterious atmosphere of the blue Christmas lights.

The last two pictures have nothing to do with light sources, they’re just ones I wanted to share.

Japanese Maple leaves

Japanese Maple leaves


Clematis seed head – that reminded me of a spider

And finally, today I reached 50,000 words written in November for NaNoWriMo – tada!



I haven’t written a novel though, as I really had no ideas for characters or plot, so I ‘rebelled’ and just wrote whatever was in my head. It was surprisingly easy (and satisfying) to write that much rubbish – but I certainly won’t be publishing any of it. 🙂 Maybe next year…


Sound advice on blogging

Lots of very sane thoughts about blogging over here on The Jittery Goat blog.
Normally I’d just add my comments in the comment section of someone else’s blog, but as he suggested putting comments on one’s own blog and making a link…  Here I go.  🙂

I don’t feel too bad about it, as I’m one of the regular readers that reads most of his articles, as I get them sent to my email inbox.  Well, OK, I admit that I don’t tend to read the ones about American sport, as I don’t even follow much UK sport, but I do really enjoy the stories.



The Daily Prompt for today says:

Photographers, artists, poets: show us BEGINNING.

I woke early yesterday, and could see pink clouds outside, so I put my dressing gown on and went out to photograph the dawn over Edge Hill, as the sun was beginning to rise.

It is the site of the first battle at the beginning of the English Civil War in 1642, and the ghosts of the dead soldiers are supposed to be heard every year on 23rd October.  We keep the curtains drawn all night, just in case.

Sunrise over Edge Hill

Sunrise over Edge Hill

Edited to add picture of spooky Roundheads getting ready for battle a week ago.  Yes, they are waiting for cars and vans to go past…



Ahhhh! So that’s how the Topics bit works…

Apologies to everyone who found this entirely obvious. I didn’t so maybe someone else will find it useful too.

I’ve just read Follow that… author and suddenly realised how the Topics bit of the reader works…

The post is about looking for authors (which I shall try out in a minute) but I’d only used the Topics column to do one-off searches for blogs to follow – I honestly hadn’t registered that they were still there, and if I click on them again, it is updated with new blogs on the same theme. I thought it was just a left-over list of what I’d done before… I get it now. Really rather too obvious.

Well, I did say I was slow. 🙂


Red line on my new iMac – procrastination topic

Daily prompt: Procrastination

On Friday, after being pushed by my Apple-loving daughters,and the hope that a bigger screen would be better for my posture and my eyesight, I finally decided that my new computer was going to be Continue reading


A year of healthy changes

My year of health-based changes – a response to this health and wellness prompt.

Last summer I found out that I was coeliac, and needed to cut out gluten from my diet. No bread, pasta, pastry, cakes… Yes, I do miss them sometimes, and reading packets for ‘hidden’ gluten can be tedious. Some complete supermarket aisles are off-limits for me. It also make eating with others more complicated (Do I ask about ingredients or just eat lettuce and tomato?), but to be honest, I think I’m pretty fortunate. Someone else at work had similar symptoms at the same time, and had to have surgery for bowel cancer. All I’ve had to do is change my diet.

rice cakes

I discovered that I really like rice cakes a few months before being diagnosed as coeliac. Very convenient for lunches and on holiday.

Mrs Crimble's Jam Coconut Rings - gluten free and mmmmmmm!

Mrs Crimble’s Jam Coconut Rings – gluten free and mmmmmmm! I may have eaten rather too many of these.

In December I started the NHS couch to 5k running programme. It hasn’t all been easy – there have been some bumpy patches on the way, and weeks with very little running, but overall it has made me fitter, and changed the way I see myself. Most runners seem to run further and faster than me (and some dog-walkers are still faster), but I have repeatedly surprised myself with what I can manage, and that has made me stronger.

Along with running, I re-discovered yoga, after a 20-year break. Yoga has really helped me improve my posture, always pretty poor, and getting worse from too many laptop hours.

My most recent wellness move has been to find out more about mindfulness meditation. The yoga had started me off, and the web and various books have helped me on my way. I took some convincing that it could work for me, an obsessive-compulsive worrier, but I can definitely feel a real change.

I love being able to find little patches of calm and quiet – even a few seconds focusing on breathing or hearing the sounds around me can open up space when my mind starts whirling, and longer sessions give me time to catch up and slow down. If you’ve never tried it, go and read up on mindfulness meditation now!

So, what health changes should I try next?