When I go walking..

One of my favourite bits of living in the UK, has to be the ease of walking here. One of the few things that I missed when I was in India.

In India, of course, even the weather makes it difficult to walk as much as I do here. Of course, that wouldn’t deter serious walkers, but people like me, who just need an excuse to laze around instead, will grab it. The excuse, that is.

One of the things I started right away was walking. Of course, I can find excuses/reasons for not walking, and I did that too, but I do walk. Sometimes, it is just 10 mins, sometimes, I skip it altogether, but when I do walk, I love it.

Today, I went on a rather long walk. I haven’t been walking in the last few days. I had a horrible attack of hay fever, and I get a never-ending streaming nose as soon as I am outdoors. Can’t think of a fate worse than that, to be honest. Lovely, gorgeous weather outside and to be forced to be indoors. Not that I stay indoors for too long though. The other day, I spent some time gardening and had to pay heavily for it. I spent the next two days sniffing into tissues. Sigh! There, I went off on a completely different track.

So as I was saying, this morning. I was feeling slightly better, and I had a birthday present to buy. ToysRUs is just a mile away from daughter’s school. What better than combining my walk with the work? I found the route on the map, Google Maps, of course. RM’s warning rang in my head, but then, Google Maps have always been very reliable for me:)

The place was about a mile from where I was, and according to the map, it would take me 23 minutes to get there. Not bad, I thought. Gives me some exercise, and I get there in decent enough time. Off I went. The walking directions were clear and easy. The walk was wonderful. A nice and warm morning. I passed some lovely neighbourhoods. One of the roads was called Bronte Farm Road. Cute, isn’t it? My imagination goes wild when I come across names like these.

Suddenly, I realized that I was on a road, that was supposed to be a dead-end. Or not? Because the sign looked like it had seen better days, and looked like the dead-end sign was scratched out. And according to Google Maps, I had to keep going. I was in two minds. Then decided to take a chance. At max, I would reach a dead-end and would have to turn back. At worst, I would have to call for a taxi. So I plodded on.

It was looking more and more like a dead-end. No sign of traffic and an extremely peaceful road. I finally reached the end, and was just about to call the taxi, when I noticed a little walkway, between two houses. There was a way indeed!!! A cute little pathway, connecting this part of the road to another. Have I told you how I love finding these little hidden walkways? Every time I come across one of them, connecting two roads for pedestrians, it still feels just as magical as it when I first came across one.

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I have to say, Google Maps did redeem my faith in it 🙂

And for the record, I covered the distance in 17 minutes instead of 23. That made me even happier:)

A Walkaway Weekend..

Its been a while since I wrote about our weekends. Not surprising, actually, because most of our weekends don’t seem to be something to write home about, these days!

Last year, I enrolled Poohi in a swimming class, and that I think partially contributed  to the demise of the weekend posts. Just the other day, husband and I were horrified to find out that we did not even make one day trip to York last year. York is our neighbouring, cute, historical town. We love going there, walking around, walking by the river.. It is even better in spring and summer, but that never stopped us from going there in Autumn and Winter. This last year, every saturday goes off in finishing off Poohi’s work, rushing to the swimming lesson, and once we are back, we end up wasting time over lunch, and before you know it, the day is over!

Last Saturday, we decided to go to York. No wasting time having lunch and stuff, lets just get going and grab a bite outside- was the plan. It was freezing, but sunny – the mere feel of sun, makes the whole world look cheerful and happy! And the whole world also looks like it is out to enjoy the day 🙂 but in the opposite direction. Look!

Normally, we drive to York and then spend the same amount time trying to find a parking space. This time we decided to use the Park and Ride facility. We always thought of trying it out but never did. So we parked the car and got onto the bus to take us to the city centre.

Public Transport is so much more fun, isn’t it? At least it is for me 🙂 I love getting into buses and pretending that we are on a real holiday 🙂

Now, while this trip was all suddenly decided, we did have a plan. We have been to the York Minster loads of times, we had never made the trip up the tower. Most of the time, we end up parking somewhere far away, walk through all the little lanes, and are exhausted by the time we reach the Minster. This time, we had a one point agenda. Climb up the Tower. So as soon as we reached, we rushed to buy the tickets, only to be told that our daughter needed to be 8 before she could be allowed up there… Now, having no option to leave her behind, we decided to just take pictures and walk around all those quaint little lanes, just as we do every time that we are in York.

The York Minster from all sorts of angles( to bore you all to death :))

Outside..

And inside..

And some more.. doesn’t it look majestic?

Since climbing the tower did not happen, we decided to do the other thing we always planned and never did. Walking on the City Walls.  Apparently York has more city walls intact than any other English city. So off we went. Fun time we had, and a history lesson as well, because Poohi wanted to know everything about why York has city walls.. Going through the pictures, I realized that I had just one picture without any of us – that’s what happens when Husband has the camera- he does not remember to take blog pics 🙂

Something cute(that we found cute), we found while on that wall..

The sunset far away…..

Finally we came to the end – of one part of the walls, anyway. And off we went through the little lanes, dotted with cute shops.. And after all the walking, we went into a cute little cafe, and had a full Yorkshire Tea, complete with scones with clotted cream and all. Tummy and soul satisfied, we walked back to the bus stop to take us to where our car was parked. It was -2 deg, but we had the greatest time!

On Sunday, because all the walking was not enough for us, we decided to go to a nearby park, and go on a nature walk. It was a cold and frosty morning – one of the first really cold days this winter. Everything looked like they had been dusted by a fine sprinkling of icing sugar. Just the perfect weather for a walk beside the lake.

Turns out, we were not the only folks out to enjoy the day..

And look frosted rock….

After all the walking, we balanced it out nicely with bread rolls, bread pakodas, mix veggie pakodas and gulab jamuns – Can’t take the risk of being too healthy, can we?

Happy Feet of Ours.. Post 4

Yesterday, daughter and I had been discussing what both of us did( at school and home respectively). I happened to mention that I went for a walk and stunned to see her burst into tears.

Apparently, she was upset that I went for a walk without her. I have to say that I was a Happy Mummy at that point in time.

You see, I have been asked by people why I ‘make’ my child walk to school when we have 2 cars. The school is just over half a mile away, and it takes us around 8 mins to walk there. Daughter has no issues with walking. She has walked that distance in all sorts of weather, even in heavy snow.  If anything, bad weather makes it even more fun for her. Her nursery used to be 1.5 miles away and she used to walk the distance cheerfully, albeit, in good, weather. I don’t think a little fresh air and exercise does any body any harm.

Some parents choose to drive to school, even when their houses are closer than ours, but the way I look at it, walking half a mile to school is no hardship, and it just puts her in the habit of walking. Not just that, she enjoys walking too. Both husband and I love walking, and we walk whenever we get a chance. So she has grown up seeing us walking wherever possible. So she has grown up to think of it as a fun activity, rather than a compulsion. I know children who do not walk at all, who hate travelling by bus, and insist on going everywhere by car.  I am not trying to judge, but I would much rather prefer daughter loves walking and understands that it is good to take public transport when it makes sense, than feel that it is some sort of a hardship or torture. One time, we went to the city centre by bus, and on the way back we did not get a seat to sit, but I was delighted to see that she stood all the way, and still had loads of fun.

Some of my friends ask me if she does not ‘mind’ walking, when we could drive. I think the reason she does not ‘mind’ is because we don’t present it as a hardship. Rather, it is an opportunity to have fun. We used to get to see horses and count blackberries, where we lived earlier. The time that we spend together walking is a lot of fun. We even meet people and make friends. Surely, in today’s hectic world, the joy of walking, is a wonderful gift for a child.

If I drive to school, we might reach a couple of minutes earlier, but would miss so much more. And not to mention that we have a playground on the way to school, which is accessible only if we walk. What more can a five yr old ask for?

So I don’t care if it is a ‘torture’ to anyone else, but when it comes to daughter and me, we love this torture!

When my legs went on strike..

Today was one of those days when little goes according to plan.

I had my work all chalked out, but was disrupted when I got caught in a chat by email marathon with some of the looniest characters in blogworld (you guys know who you are, let me not name and shame all of us :)). Before I knew it, time had flown right out of the window.

Now this is one of the things I hate about living here, no maids, having to run around doing stuff all by myself, and before I knew it, it was time to pick up daughter from the nursery. Now she goes to another nursery 2 days a week and it is a mile from where we live. I have perfected the art of leaving at the last minute possible, in order to pick her up, dot at 1:00. With careful iterations, I have reached my best time of 15 minutes door to door, and today, it was 12:50 before I could get out of the house. And I had not even had the time to have lunch – which in my case is a disastrous thing to do.

With 5 minutes already eaten up and the nursery charging by the minute for every minute we are late, I had to somehow reach on time. So I drew up a back up plan. As soon as I reached the walking trail, away from curious eyes, I would have to sprint. Walking was not going to take me there in 10 minutes. So as soon as I reached a point in the walking trail where no nosy-parker could see me, I set off, only to come to a grinding halt in under 3o secs. I almost ran into a terrified toddler, clinging to his mother, terrified at the sight of my hurling down the path, handbag and fleece jacket flying in the air. I must have looked like Phoebe 😦

After that, I tried running after the toddler and his mum were out of sight, but my legs refused. They refused to be punished for my wasting away my time and expecting the world out of them, without providing them with adequate nourishment . Not only did they refuse to run, they also refused to walk as fast as they normally do. Talk about disobedient legs! And ways, after a lot of cajoling, they decided to up their pace. By then, not just my legs, my tummy was protesting in hunger too.

Finally, despite my short lived sprint, I reached the nursery only at 1:05, and picked up daughter. They did not mention anything about being late – but I guess, next month’s bill will.

By the time, I got daughter to leave the place (she loves her nursery so much, that she tries to linger there as much as she can – am sure those people must be thinking that I torture her at home ), I wasdelirious with hunger and my legs were killing me. Turns out, daughter wanted to add to that. She was in the mood for some running. So off she went, and I had to run with her, my legs cursing me with every step, and tummy rumbling ominously.

If all that running was not enough, she also had to go and play in the park. Now, I want her to be active, but sometimes, I do wish she would say things like, ‘Can we go home quickly and sleep’, instead, her park time fun never ends. It was 2:30 by the time, I managed to pull her away from the park, and haul ourselves home and get some food inside me. What bliss, to be able to eat something!

Starving for 2.3 hours, almost killed me. Tell me guys, how do those amongst you who fast, without food or drink, manage? My admiration for you guys, have increased manifold after today.

Addictions and everything else under the sun..

I never thought I would say this, but I have managed to go and get hooked on things other than the blogworld.

In a single day, I leapt from blogville to farmville.

For the last few weeks, I had been getting requests and gifts from friends wanting to suck me into the quagmire called Farmville. And I was proud that I resisted. Until last week. My friend told me of how addictive it is and how her husband wakes up thinking of his farmville chicken. I was like, yeah? But it can’t be as bad as blog addiction! Boy, was I wrong.To think that a few months back, I never even logged into Facebook.

I haven’t yet started dreaming of chicken, but I have a rather busy farming life going on. And before I know it, I am trying to convince Hitchy and Swaram to join too 🙂 So now, to detox myself, I have decided to come back to blogville.

The last 2 weeks, I have re-discovered the joys of walking. The feel of the fresh morning air, the lovely smell of nectar from wild flowers and the feel of light rain on my cheeks.. I take detours on my way back after dropping Poohi and never have enough. It has been just wonderful and we have found a lot of little walking trails and hidden paths – all very adventurous 🙂 Surprisingly daughter has started loving the walk too. She walks the whole 1.5 miles from her school to home and has a lovely time, of course, walking for her does involve counting wild blackberries (and every other coloured berries), watching ‘horseys’ prancing around and of course spotting snails. This morning, I was dismayed at the sight of pelting rain. Daughter on the other hand was delighted. ‘ I can wear my wellies, my raincoat and carry my umbrella’  and of course, she had to jump in every puddle on the way. It was a blessing that we still reached on time.

All this walking, I do hope helps in reducing weight, else Twitter is always there. Apparently Twitter can now help lose weight. If only we knew before we bought that cross trainer.

My broadband is not very happy with my addiction either. It has decided to make my farming and blogging life rather difficult. It has decided to switch itself off and refuse to switch on. In fact, today, it switched back on only after husband came  home. Rather inexplicable, I think. Unless husband and broadband have a deal between themselves.. hmmm.. worth exploring, don’t you think?

Now, I am going to sign off before the broadband starts to act up again. Have to mind those chicken, pigs and cows. By the way, my farmville addiction is something daughter loves too. She finds my farm far more exciting than Daddy’s withered farm with no animals ( he is too busy to farm  ) while my farm has cows mooing, pigs oinking, ducks quaking, horses neighing.. No, I am not being paid to write all this.. It is that addictive 🙂