Posts Tagged ‘ canal ’

Spring is sprung – and I’ve won the lottery!

“Season creep” is the term describing the gradual process by which one season slowly but noticeably slides earlier and earlier into the next. (It’s not to be confused with the term “slimy creep”, which is when a dodgy bloke slowly but noticeably tries to slide his hand up your leg.)

Spring is the season we in England most often think of as “creeping”. Apparently the rate of “creep” has now reached a couple of days each decade.

This is good, yes? Soon the first day of Spring could well coincide with Christmas Day. January will truly be a month of new beginnings and renewal, instead of the dull, overcast, flu-filled drudge it is now.

Today was, I am convinced, the first day of Spring 2011.

I was fortunate enough to have a day completely devoid of commitments (at least, nothing I couldn’t put off.) So when I walked/dragged the kids to school this morning, blue sky overhead, fluffy clouds a-skittering, I knew it was going to be impossible to resist the lure of the outdoors.

Appropriately suited and booted, I set off from home at about 11am, the Fleet Foxes singing me a lullaby or two through my earphones.

Within minutes I was off-road, heading over the marshland skirting the edge of Kidderminster town centre, pictured above, towards the Staffs & Worcs Canal, which I followed to Wolverley village, about two miles away.

Halfway along, when I stopped to take a few photos, I spotted two discarded lottery tickets on the towpath. Out of curiosity I stooped to pick them up. They are in my pocket now. I assume one of them will prove to be the winning ticket. It will make a great story. (Should you care my “winning” numbers are 11, 26, 31, 42, 43 and 47 or 04, 25, 40, 42, 45 and 47.)

No, Mr Lotto, I don’t want publicity if I win. Oh. Oops.

Anyway, distracted though I was by thinking of where I’d travel to first with my lottery winnings, I carried on walking, reaching Wolverley Court bridge and lock a few minutes later. This is the approach towards the bridge.

It was a glorious day. I was lucky to be able to enjoy it, rather than be stuck in a centrally heated office.

I do count my blessings, I promise; I know I’m lucky to be able to enjoy days like this when it suits me. It also means me and mine will never be rich, not financially anyway. (Oh, except for the lottery millions heading my way.) But there is more to life…

Anyway, back to my theme – which is, or was, Spring. The realisation that Spring might, just, have sprung already, came quite a long way further on.

After passing the Lock pub (and resisting the urge to go in and order champagne all round in lieu of my upcoming lottery win) I headed across a field, bathed in sunshine.

Whatever seed had been sown there was beginning to come to life. Green shoots, standing in stiff rows, swayed gently, like overheated guards at the Changing of the Guard.

Now, I’m a complete ignoramus when it comes to nature’s cycles, but I thought this was significant. I’m certain one of you can tell me what this crop is, if not bog-standard grass…and will also be able to tell me if it would be expected to come up yet? I am interested. Really. (No Latin names though…)

Here’s a picture of it, with sun streaming in to help it keep growing.

Anyway, an hour later I was back home, feeling like shite. Two hours after that I was taking my first antibiotic for a chest infection and dose of flu.

No wonder this walking malarkey was leaving me a bit breathless and knackered. Don’t worry though; now Spring is here I’ll be just fine.

I often get a bit of a cold or somesuch in January – I think it’s the payoff for being fit and healthy for the Christmas/New Year frenzy. Let me know if Spring has sprung in your neck of the woods. I’m expecting daffs by next week. Not that I’ll care – I’ll be in Australia, enjoying my winnings.


Reflecting on the positives!

St Mary's Church, Kidderminster

Just back from a week’s holiday to our favourite haunt – the beautiful bay of Woolacombe in north Devon.

Everyone has their own favourite “away-from-it-all” place. Well, this is my family’s best loved, the place where we can all kick back, relax and recharge our batteries. We first ended up there by chance for a weekend away, some six years ago, and had a brilliant time with a group of friends.

Since then we have made an annual pilgrimage back there, either as a family, or with extended family, or with groups of friends.

Every time the experience is different – yet comfortingly the same. I guess that’s why I love it. While everything else in life seems to speed by at a hundred miles an hour, here we can all slow down, take it easy, and get with the surfer vibe.

Every visit, without fail, I can be sure that we will do all of the following:

  • Climb up Potter’s Hill overlooking the bay and marvel at how windy it is, no matter what the season
  • Make the two-and-a-half mile trek along the beach to Putsborough at the other end, take a picture, and then walk all the way back
  • Tuck into delicious grub at the beachfront Red Barn pub
  • Get sick on the swingboats (will I never learn?)
  • Get sick on Big Chief Waffles and scrummy icecream from Normies (will the kids never learn?)
  • Get up early on the first morning to run along the beach to kickstart my new fitness regime (then forget to go again for the rest of the holiday)
  • Buy a bodyboard/inflatable boat/other seaside gizmo which we don’t have room for in the car
  • Enquire about buying a campervan from a surf dude
  • Have a beach barbie while watching the sun disappear
  • Have a serious discussion about what the year ahead holds and what we want to achieve individually and as a family, while getting slowly drunk – then by the next day completely fail to recall what we decided
  • Eat lots of croissants and pain au chocolat for breakfast, completely forgetting we are not in France
  • Read at least two books each

Ah, good times. But why am I waffling on about Woolacombe when the picture in today’s blog is of St Mary’s Church in my hometown of Kidderminster?

Well, partly its because I have yet to get round to sorting through the hundreds of pictures I took while on holiday.

But mostly it’s because coming back from holiday always puts me in a reflective mood – and I thought this shot summed up where I am with my thoughts about Kidderminster.

I’m a relative newcomer to the town.  I arrived here eight years ago knowing nobody outside my immediate family of hubby and baby son.

It has taken me a long time to get used to living here but I’ve now made some lovely friends, and discovered some of its hidden secrets. I still think there’s a lot wrong with the town. For example, there’s still only one decent pub (The Boar’s Head Tap House) and barely any good shops – even the new Debenhams is a pale imitation of a department store. It’s a cultural desert when it comes to decent movies, plays and music. Picking a secondary school, as I will soon have to, seems to be about picking the best of a bad bunch.

But that hasn’t stopped me falling in love with it just a tiny bit – especially when the sun is shining.

I took this picture of St Mary’s Church on a suitable sunny afternoon. The church towers over the canal which runs through the heart of the town. It reflects my post-holiday mood – if you look hard enough you will always find something pretty wonderful. Time to count my blessings.

St Mary's Church tower reflection