Since I last wrote, much has happened. As you know, I’d started to get myself stuck in a rut. For some reason I cannot comprehend I get majorly stressed out by social media, and feel myself being sucked into a rabbit hole. Consequently, I’ve taken a break and focussed on me and trying to remain present as much as I can – keeping the black dog at bay. It does make a difference and during this time I have been really quite busy, ticked a few things off my bucket list and done a lot of walking.
The walking was primarily inspired by Diabetes UK Million Steps Challenge; to walk a million steps between 1st July and 30th September. What was lovely about this challenge was my husband also joined in with me, we actually achieved the million step target on 17th September and my total for the 3 month period is 1,146,574. We needed to target 11,000 steps per day to achieve the goal and I don’t mind saying that at the end of the first week I’m not sure either of us thought it was achievable, given all the aches and pains!
The challenge encouraged us to walk in situations where we may otherwise have driven or caught the bus. I’ve done the classic parking at a car park further away, getting off the bus a few stops early and generally just investigating the world around us. We’ve discovered walks around the centre of Bristol, found new coffee shops and also improved our fitness levels. There have even been evenings spent pacing our apartment to achieve the desired 11,000 steps in a day.
Castle Park, Bristol
Luckily for the main part of the challenge we were in Bristol, so whilst it wasn’t a cold, wet summer in Bristol, it was cooler than Albufeira and made the challenge that bit more achievable. It’s also provided the opportunity for us to investigate other parts of England.
In July we went on a road trip via Oxford and Stoke-on-Trent up to the North East of England. I met up with an old school friend in Trentham Gardens and chatted away the 30 years since we had last met, and stopped off in Burnley to visit friends. We were treated to a lovely morning at the beautiful Townley Park, with the sun coming out later in the day providing stunning views across the surrounding hills. Further north, in the Lake District we parked up for a few days and travelled on my boat, bus and foot.
Trentham Gardens Lakeside Walk
I made my annual trip up to Morecambe for a crochet course. I loved it, it was so classically British! It was raining, it was blowing a hooley, children were wearing their winter coats and bobble hats, but everyone turned out for a free music festival where I was treated to a performance by Toyah,who was fantastic and a real blast from my teenage past! You really can”t beat the British seaside, in all of its mad glory! The crochet was good too, however, this time I was introduced to crystal healing and you cant beat a bit of voodoo joojoo!
We included a brief visit to Goucester Quays to meet up with friends who’d travelled down from Birkenhead. We were quite pleasantly surprised at how nice Gloucester was, helped by the most amazing classic car show which filled every street in the town. It was real trip down memory lane – although quite why anyone would have kept a Morris Marina in pristine condition escapes me!
At the end of August we returned to Albufeira, with our target of a million steps in sight and pleased that by this point, we were confident of achieving our goal. It remained surprisingly busy well into the middle of September, but the crowds are just starting to leave. The temperatures are returning to a more manageable level for my very English skin and you can feel the collective sigh of relief around the town as things calm down.
Walking in Seville
Our walking challenge ended in beautiful Seville. We try to visit as regularly as we can and as ever, it didn’t disappoint. With the weather being a tiny bit cooler it was perfect for strolling around soaking up the atmosphere, people watching,drinking coffee and enjoying the vast choice of tapas on offer. I’m not sure I’ve ever eaten anything so delightful as the beetroot and feta gazpacho!
So what next? I for one, have really regained my walking mojo. It feels wrong to just sit and do nothing and we’re now in the routine of two walks a day. The pressure to achieve a daily target has gone, but we’re trying to focus on a weekly target, to avoid sliping back into our previous, more idle, ways. I’ve also entered the 2020 Moonwalk in London, so need to start building up my speed and distances in preparation for full on training in the new year. Clearly, I’d read many articles about how good walking is for you, how getting out of the door for a few minutes walk every day makes you feel better and brighter. Oddly, it seems they are right!