Saturday, 30 August 2008
Tuesday, 26 August 2008
And that's not surprising, because our trip to Bala Lake in Snowdonia, and to Coniston in the Lake District, was awesome. We spent our time walking, admiring mountains, swimming in icy lakes (G, C and O - not me!), walking some more, admiring the mountains a bit more, and watching the Olympics when we were tired after our walks. I don't get to walk up any mountains at home in East London, so I miss them now I'm back.
This morning I had a glass of cold milk with my breakfast. The serenity of a simple glass of white milk is so pleasing early in the day.
I drank my milk and put together a list of things I still want to do with the rest of the summer. Somehow. Maybe these will be tucked into odd days and afternoons, but that's okay - there's still a bit of summer left.
- make more jam (the only jam I've made so far this summer has been Anna's blackberry jam, which is sublime but has been eaten already)
- read another Secret Seven book with O
- make some more recipes from Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer (cherry cake and Milly-Molly-Mandy's patty pan sultana cakes made so far - both fabulous)
- Plant some lavender into pots for beside the front door
- more lazy days with friends, before the school term starts
- find some more geocaches - even though we don't have any mountains, there are always nice walks to be had in Epping Forest.
What are your plans for the last few weeks of summer?
Jane at the wonderfully witty Petticoat Lane has kindly nominated me for an award. And to pass on the love I am going to give a long overdue update to my sidebar list of Blogs I Like to Catch Up On. Thank you Jane!
Thursday, 7 August 2008
I love maps, and I have collected many over the years. A few are to keep, because I love them, but most are to use.
Today, I've started gathering maps of Snowdonia and the Lake District together, for our holiday next week. Some we've had for years - fished out of the car's door pockets and assorted bookshelves. Some are new - neatly folded and sent in double quick time earlier this week by good old Amazon.
My favourite maps-to-use are those from the Ordnance Survey Explorer Active range. They show everything you need for outdoor activities: cycle hire, marked walking, cycling and horse riding trails, car parks ... and pubs. Unfolding a map, tracing with my finger the paths I might walk, fills my head with exciting possibilities and plans. Shall I take the cliff path along to the lifeboat station and end up at the pub in town? Or shall I walk up to the ridge, take some photos and then spend the afternoon winding back down to the village through the forest? Planning day long walks with a pile of maps by my side is one of my all time favourite things to do. Now I want to go and find out what that "Fish Ladder" in the map below is all about!
Sometimes, especially with small children in tow, I want to walk more of a tried and tested route - but still feel as though I am a rugged explorer finding my way through the wilderness with a map. For this, the Jarrold pathfinder guides are perfect.
The Jarrold guides have walks of varying lengths and difficulty, and contain excerpts from Ordnance Survey maps as well as photos of key points along the walk - maybe a view, a monument, or the gate where you must turn back on yourself and head up hill.
And this summer, I have two new discoveries that will add so much to our walks and exploration.
Firstly, a whole load of books for C and O from the Usborne Spotters Guides series.
As well as this Night Sky guide (which I think will be a hit during the first week of our holiday, when we are camping) I also have the wild flowers, trees, butterflies and ponds and lakes books. Having something to look for is my second favourite way of keeping children motivated and not moaning on a long walk (my top method is bribing them with toffees).
And finally there is a treat for me. This book by Hunter Davies which has introduced me to the wonderful world of Wainwright.
Before this week, I had vaguely heard of Wainwright and knew that he had written walking guides to the Lake District, but no more. This book has explained to me why he is so revered and admired by walkers, publishers, artists and writers alike.
Wainwright hand wrote and hand drew every single one of his books. He found a local printer who would faithfully reproduce the books as he wrote them, not change them into typeface. His books contain loving prose descriptions of the landscape, evocative pen-and-ink drawings and incredible maps and diagrams. I am now such a fan - after just one evening reading Hunter Davies' book!
I can't wait to get up to those Lakes now and try out some of Wainwright's walks for myself. Time to go and buy a big bag of toffees....