Friday, October 30, 2015


...that is to say - "catching up"!

I went to my comment library today because I knew there were some questions from readers that I hadn't answered yet. I receive notice of comments through my email but when I went to the Blogger comment library no comments were showing up since mid-September even though I've seen/read several in my email.  I use Disqus for commenting so went to their site and did a little update. Not having much any computer background I found that all of the code and where to place it very confusing. So bear with me as I monkey around! Grrrr...

If you have encountered this or have any advice please let me know!

So I cannot go back and find the questions except by looking at every post, one by one (I delete my emails periodically). One question that I remember is about what product I use for waterproofing my hiking boots. I have applied this product several times over the past year and a bit. But I have to tell you that the insides of my boots were still damp on particularly rainy and dewy days. So we used the old hiking trick of stuffing newspaper into the toes of our boots overnight to absorb moisture and that really helped.

A while back someone recommended some flavours of Chapman's icecream/frozen yogurt to me (was that you "Living Rich on the Cheap"? Anyhoo, I recently purchased Black Jack Cherry and it is to die for! Kazi thinks it's too sweet (hmmmm strange comment with regard to ice cream!)...perhaps bits of sour cherry would be more up her alley? Actually, that's not a bad idea - my sour tooth is just as demanding as my sweet tooth!

**If there are any other questions please post them in the comments section (hopefully it still works) and I'll get right back to you. Now that I'm home I'll be posting more frequently. 

Also I want to give a "shout out" to my faithful reader "Freckles" who made a comment "she's back" after one of my posts :) Freckles - you know me too well! Yes, I am indeed feeling more like my old self. I still struggle with motivation some days but it's improving. I appreciate you rooting for me. PS- I like the name you use, "Freckles", because I read a lot of Gene Stratton Porter books as a child and one of them was named "Freckles".

So...what am I doing these days when I'm not posting about my trips on FB or on my blog? Glad you asked!

I spend a lot of time walking, hiking and biking and enjoying the fall colours. The following 2 photos are of a bike trail out at Fanshawe Park which is quite close to me. So far I haven't had the courage to try it (there are lots of tree roots and other hazards) but I made a vow to try it before the snow falls. I noticed next week we are going to have several warm days so wish me luck!! Wouldn't it be great if I broke my leg and had to spend the whole winter reading on the couch!!

This is me looking terribly sexy in my bike helmet - I have a "rear view mirror" attached to my helmet - you can see it sticking out. It looks a little weird but I can't believe how much safer I feel being able to see the traffic coming up behind me.

My new bike seat before I got a gel cover for it. It's quite comfortable (someone stole my other seat!)

Other folks enjoying the nice fall weather...

 Fanshaw Lake/Park/Conservation Area is such a beautiful place and I enjoy biking in an area where there are very few cars.

Oh, I've gotten back into decluttering. When I retired I donated about 1/3 of my entire wardrobe. But I went through it again ruthlessly! If I hadn't worn it in the past year out it went! I made quite a mountain!

Filled 4 garbage bags and took them to the local thrift shop.

My closet still looks well stocked but it contains almost all of my clothes for all seasons (I used to use 2 large closets and switch them around as the seasons changed). I just have a couple of summery dresses in a closet in the basement that also contains our winter coats. I'm not quite ready to bring out the winter coats yet!

I even have room in my closet for other my backpack.

 My jeans and stretchy tights.

 My hiking pants and shoes. I pretty much just wear jeans, tights or hiking pants plus yoga tops, hiking tops (short and long sleeved), hoodies and T-shirts. I still have more "going out" tops than I can wear so I'll do another clear out in the spring. In the summer I like dresses but I usually ride my bike to wherever I'm going so end up wearing shorts or capri lengths black tights. Basically I only dress up for funerals!! I don't date so my social life consists of going to movies and concerts, out to play games and euchre, out to yoga and meditation, out for coffee or a meal or a hike - all with friends or family and I can dress casually for all of that! It feels GREAT to have a much more stream lined closet. So easy to choose what to wear.

 Ironically, another activity I want to get back into is sewing!! So I recently purchased a pattern (40% off though still expensive - I used to buy Simplicity patterns as a teenager for $1.00!! Yes, I'm that old!) and found material in the remnants bin that I really liked - is it paisley? Oh yes it is! Total cost about $25.00.

I hope it turns out ok. I'm a bit torn between using only the paisley material for the whole top (too overwhelming?) or substituting a solid colour (navy blue?) for the sleeves as shown in the photos on the left of the pattern. Undecided.

 I've been on a couple hikes though I'm becoming more choosy as I've discovered the big group hike experience isn't my favourite but I'll go occasionally to see people I haven't seen for awhile or if there is a particular place I want to go to like Meadowlily conservation area shown below. I also hike/walk/bike on my own for the purpose of exercise and getting out in nature - both helpful to my peace of mind.

Some hopeful young man spray painted a message on a cement culvert - "will you be my girlfriend?" I'm sure she was suitably impressed :) I like how he used the word "girlfriend" instead of her name - a reusable message if he strikes out with the first girlfriend!!

I'm also busy decluttering the basement as I brought home the rest of my belongings from my sister's barn in PEI. Most of it I'm storing though there were 3 chairs that I've managed to assimilate into various rooms. Let's just say there will be one helluva yard sale next spring!! But, meanwhile, I have to rearrange my storage areas to hold all my stuff for the short term.

I think that's about it - as the weather turns colder and snowy I'll be spending more time in my workshop as I've started carving a piece of soapstone and I'd like to get it done for a Christmas gift. This weekend I am going ziplining(!) and then to a Halloween stag and doe - I think I'll recycle my chimney sweep costume from last year as it will be a totally different crowd. Should be fun!

Toodles for now! Coming soon: "The Mother of all Days"!!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Day Two: Heddon on the Wall to WALL

On the second day of hiking Annie and I walked from a part of a wall in Heddon on the Wall to a village called Wall via Chollerford which also had some bits and pieces of wall! Confused much? Must have something to do with Hadrian's Wall - yup, I figured that out all by myself!

 It was a misty start to the day, rained a little off and on.

Annie not paying attention to the road instructions! Hey, slow down there!

In between cloudy skies and rain the sun would pop out allowing us to get some lovely photos of the landscape.

 Some of the hills we climbed were pretty steep as you can see! There are some tiny people in the lower right hand corner of the photo.

Annie - the cow whisperer! We encountered lots and lots of lovely cows, sheep, chickens, a rabbit and several horses.

We climbed over about 500 of these styles - there was also a stone version. I liked the wooden ones because the handles gave us something to pull ourselves up with.

Poor sheep...

but this one is okay :)

Our destination was the Hadrian Hotel in Wall. The views from the dining room were gorgeous.

On the way we passed through Chollerford and crossed Chester's Bridge - dating back to Roman times and still in great shape!

I don't remember if this was a turret of a mile castle.

This Roman temple has a fairly intact altar and various carvings. Over the centuries farmers and builders helped themselves to the stones from the wall and various buildings as they were ready to use! It's a wonder there is as much left as there is.

Some of our more challenging hills coming into view.

I see you bunny!

Yes, I love sheep. (Have you seen Shaun the Sheep movie?? Go if you can!)

From above we watched a farmer on his 4 wheeler along with his border collie rustle up some sheep.

The hills we went up and down and up and down were called shields or crags as in Halton Shields or Carr Crags. Every time I would crest one hill and see several more in front of me I would swear a little bit (quietly)...but eventually it didn't matter anymore as we got used to them. Our feet and legs protested for awhile but it did seem to get a bit easier the more we climbed.

There was a photographer racing ahead of us from time to time, with a huge lens, and occasionally we would catch up to him. He took a couple shots of Annie and I. It must have been cold as we're all bundled up.

Annie, wait up! We took turns leading and following - it all worked out fine. One of us was always stopping to take photos and then we'd catch up.

This is what the landscape looks like when it's raining! I missed some good shots due to the off and on rain but between the two of us we have more than enough!

I love this one as it shows a tiny person cresting the hill and you can see many more hills in the distance. It was breathtakingly beautiful! this a crag or a shield?

Such a dreamy shot.

Here's our lovely hotel - IT HAD AN AMAZING BATHTUB!!!!!

 Annie's sister said putting our feet up would help :) I think it did!

Coming soon: Day 3 - The mother of all days!!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Hiking Day One: Newcastle to Heddon on the Wall (25 or so kms)

The order of the photos is a bit out of whack due to uploading photos from my iPhone and my camera but that just makes the day that much more least, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!!
Here's Annie and I waiting at the station early on Day 1. We have to get to Wallsend where our journey across England begins.  We both look like we could use a few more hours of sleep!'s dinner....see what I mean about the order? Fish and chips, of course, but thankfully the peas weren't mushy :)

Heddon on the Wall is the location of the first remnants of Hadrian's Wall.  See Annie in her blue coat way down there?

Back to the beginning again...Annie and I at the very beginning of Hadrian's Way. It rained and rained and rained.

My one and only (you're welcome) boat and reflection photo - but it's a good one!

An interesting roof top vignette - a cat trying to catch a seagull!

We had a loooong walk beside the River Tyne as we travelled from one end of Newcastle to the other end and out into the countryside.

We took a little side trip to take a few photos of a Norman castle which gave "Newcastle" its name.

Old as the hills!

One of the many great things about Annie is her ability to spot a good hot cuppa just when one was dearly needed.  We were a little (a lot) soggy at this point, especially me so we fortified ourselves for the next leg of our journey.

My raincoat and rainpants repelled the rain but the impermeable material caused another problem - SEVERE SWEATING!! You may be able to notice that my shoulders and front (and back) of my green shirt are completely soaked. Not from rain but from sweat. My pants were equally soaked. It's a wonder I was smiling!

One of the more elaborate signposts we saw along the way.

The roses enjoyed the rain :)

Now, this is more like it!

Follow the acorn! Only 1.5 miles to Heddon on the Wall.

Thankfully the rain let up later in the day...

 Though the sky still threatened...

Some of the unusual flowers in the Memorial Garden near the pub where we dried out a bit.

A couple more shots from the wall...

Yes, we touched the wall, leaned on the wall, sat on the wall, sheltered by the wall to eat our lunch one day and walked on a short portion of the wall!

Heddon on the Wall...

Selfie opportunity!

Such a cute face! A koala sheep?

Also came across a few sturdy horses on our way to our first B&B...

Walking through some misty fields...

 A magical entrance to our B&B...

Rejoicing in Heddon - it stopped raining...

And here we are at Ironsign Farm! We did it! Our first 25kms!