RSS Feed

Reflections 2019 w25

The wind blew at my strapped down Tilly hat as I crested the hill that was once a fort at Dinas Dinlle, sea spray travelling over the land in a fine mist, leaving the taste of salt with each heavy breath.

I love these dog walks with Spot.

My heart pounds with the exertion my body has with the short but sudden climb, lungs filling with fresh, clean air; Welsh air. I hear only the sound of the wind and crashing waves, glad I am not trying to fight the sea to catch a fish or two, not even the bleating of the sheep can be heard. I know not if they are hiding in a far off field or just behind the wall, silently waiting for the wind to die down. Even the seagulls hang in the air as though they are in a painted seaside scene.

The only other people I can see in this quiet place are other dog walkers, some are clearly taking pleasure in the weather, others look like they wish they had cats. It’s not cold, but some are dressed like it was the middle of winter, accompanied by a bloke in shorts. My smile as we pass seems to convey my humour at the sight, much to the annoyance of the person wrapped up, which in turn makes me smile more. Not in a mean way…OK it might be a little mean.

I never get bored of doing the same walks over and over again at the coast, or in the countryside. I find a peace with the empty space, a quiet in the natural sounds, the voice in my head has nothing to find fault with that cannot be easily forgotten by something to see. Yes I may just sit and cry, emotionless, yet calm. Not knowing why, but accepting the release of pressure.

These are the times I know there is hope, because these are the times I do not need to lean on the medication.

They just do not happen often enough. But I am Grateful that they do at least happen.



White clouds turn to grey.

Rain, like tears, fall down gently.

Last goodbye to Dad.

A § M 


Reflections 2020 w34

Over the last couple of weeks one has been on a bit of a spending spree. The walking Holiday at Hadrians wall fund has now been spent on preordering a Windlilly turbine for camping, Not that I can see any of that happening this year now, I have made several alterations to plans only to have the 2020 spanner thrown in the works in one form or another. It is beginning to look like a couple of nights on Dartmoor after dropping of Christmas presents at the moment.

Also bought is a new sea fishing rod/reel and boxseat with backrest. For all the fishermen out there, you will know the ‘luxury’ of a backrest on a cold windy day. Or the pleasure of one on a still sea with no bites, chilling with a cuppa and a view. Though the next one is looking more to a winter fishing session at the moment. Normally we would have been fishing for mackerel by now.

But at leat my sewing projects are coming along, strangely enough, these are also camping/walking projects – for my walking trailer that has yet to have its first journey with me since I got it a couple of years ago.

I got it second hand, and at a great bargain price. Due to the fact they are not popular here in England, If they are used at all. This one has been on a pilgrimage in Mexico with its previous owner, but has sat in the box with me. I cannot afford the accessories like the back support for carrying it on longer journeys, rather than the method of carrying it through streams it comes with. So I have sewn my own versions.

Will they work?
I have no idea?

But then I have no idea if the trailer and Spots K9 backpack combo will work together as one hopes, because of the – beep- spanner of 2020.

So it is prep, prep, prep for sometime….

Stay safe.

Tick Tock…poem

Tick tock

goes clock,

it’s hands turn round .

Tick tocK

goes clock,

a familiar sound.

Tick tock

goes clock,

rules us by hour.

Tick tock

goes clock,

a virus – takes its power.

In 2020,

time is lost,

but this freedom,

comes with cost.

Which day, which week,
it matters not.

For those of us

who’ve lost the plot.

This year is strange,

to say the least.

A tiny virus,

fights like beast.

Wash hands, wear mask,

and stay apart.

Receive no hug,

for broken heart.

It’s been six months,

no end in sight,

To worldwide virus,

mankind’s plight.

Tick tock

goes clock,

record down time.

Tick tock

goes clock,

I stand in line.

Reflections 2020 w32

Well it has been 4 weeks since the last post, and yet it seems like just a couple. This was the week I was supposed to be walking Hadrians wall, but 2020 has had other plans for the world, not just me.

Nothing much has changed since the last time I wrote, not for me at least. My best friends mum passed away just over a week ago, but the wake will not be until next year due to the virus, most of her friends are in the at risk category. Even funerals are strange in 2020.

I have a new sewing machine, well new for me, it is secondhand, so I have spent the last week just playing with it as it is a lot more modern than the one I have been using that belonged to my auntie. Unfortunately auntie’s machine is not functioning as it should, and the second hand machine cost as much as the repairs and service. This Machine also has many more stitch patterns to it, chosen by matching the picture on the side to the number to be input, then the machine sets the stitch width and length. No need to look for the stitch in the manual for the settings. Button holes are done automatically on all sides to the size of the button. I am not going to say how many one has done just to watch it do it.

I now have a collection of sewing projects to do, but it is very easy to put it off till tomorrow, as there seems to be no end of this time to do things feeling.

Spot has a new rain coat, though the pattern was made a little small, but then she would not let me measure to make the pattern, the little bugger. It is however now a starting point, we shall see how it wears before making alterations.

The only other change is doing the first draft of a poem in a looooong time. It just popped into my head from out of nowhere. I will re-read it tomorrow and may publish it next week if not many alterations are needed.

Stay safe,

Reflections 2020 w28

One has broken the YouTube algorithm, one thinks.

During this lockdown YouTube has been playing in the background a lot, but now the recommended page is doing my head in.

I spend time choosing the do not recommend channel option, only for it to be on the next page refresh, and the number of videos that have been already watched is increasing, along with the number of recommendations for videos of channels that are subbed to.

If I block say a channel showing mr bean, I then get multiple channels with more clips of mr bean popping up. The algorithm does not seem to want to acknowledge that the subject is constantly being blocked, whereas if I choose a video on a new subject it works out I may be interested in more on the same subject.

One is getting so many repeat video recommendations it is putting me off turning to YouTube to find something to watch, I already have to watch some channels through an add blocker due to the shear amount of adds on some longer videos.

One is also noticing a trend of some channel creators to produce something to meet the new algorithm recommendation guidelines on quantity rather than on quality. Some are even trying to push themselves further than their comfort levels/skill levels would have sensibly kept them before the last update, putting them at risk.

Some are doing reviews like mad to produce content, on products (talking camping/bushcraft here) that you never see them use, or if they do it is only rarely. Personally I prefer my reviews to be done after use. How can you review a tent when you have just put it up in the back yard for the first time on flat grass? A true test is in foul weather and strong winds after you have struggled to get your tent pegs into the ground. Heck, even how the tent goes up/comes down in gusty weather or rain makes a huge difference. It’s the whole reason I choose outer up first if I can nowadays.

Although the COVID lockdown has reduced their options somewhat, surely if you are describing yourself as a bushcraft/wild camp channel, there seems to be a weird hybrid going on with some, surely there are skills you can show that can be done at home, it can’t be all about kit, tarp, fire, shelter build, especially if you do the same shelter repeatedly.

I hope a rival platform comes out, so the creators can go back to focusing on quality over quantity, because as my sub list has been shrunk because of loss of interest in what a creator is doing, so is my interest in seeing what is being recommended.

And why are 8-10year old videos being suddenly resurrected in the recommended section??? The mind boggles.

Stay safe.

Reflections 2020 w27

I have not been on for a couple of weeks, and the biggest change to the Covid routine was to go and get a couple of pairs of socks and a shirt from town…Exciting stuff.

Ooo and a haircut.

One had to go to town twice though because the changing rooms are not open. So one trip worth of shopping created two trips into town, two times touching the keypad, two times interacting with the staff members, three times the shirt was handled by staff members, I had to use a pen from them and touch the receipt they handed me before signing it and handing them back, compared to trying the shirt on once and putting it back.

Yes I brought the socks there as well, but what if i did not? Was the second journey really required to limit the spread of the virus rather than having the changing rooms sprayed down after being used?

To give some context on this, the shop is usually quiet, people trickling in and out a couple at a time, I have never been in this shop with more than 6 people in it at one time, which is why I like shopping there. So I am not expecting the staff to run around like a blue arsed fly, but then I was expecting to see more masks being worn in town. Half of the mask wearers were wearing them UNDER their chins in public. What use they think they are getting out of them I don’t know.

On a bonus note, the mask wearing is helping with the hay fever. It may become a part of my country walking kit, much like my eye drops, for when I walk into an area of pollen reaction. Not every reaction is just a sneeze or several, and if a mask will lessen the impact – good.

Stay safe.

Reflections 2020 w24

And now the countdown has started…

A Wedding?

A Birthday?


A Holiday?


A meeting of friends?



It is a countdown to having a haircut. Something, as a bloke, I did not even have to book an appointment for before. I could just walk in and wait to get a cut, even a shave if I so wanted. Heck I could get one on a whim if the barbers was empty.

But now an appointment has to be made, and for a busy barbers one would hate to think at how long it would take to get an appointment, and would it be a case of booking one for four weeks after that?

Luckily I can get mine done by a mobile hairdresser who has few clients, although she was thinking of packing it in due to a lot of her clients are elderly. Part in concern over taking the virus home, part because a lot would have not washed their hair themselves whilst the lockdown has been in place. We know one client has only used the dry shampoo. To be honest I cannot fathom how that works, but then I’m a ginger that has hair which requires super strength conditioner on a regular basis just to not boof into a lightning struck sideshow Bob.


So yeh, I’m counting down to it.

Stay safe.

Reflections 2020 w23

Today I salvaged some of the onions up the allotment. Due to the yo-yo weather we have had, many plants have decided to bolt and go to seed. The onions are no exception, some have no bulb as such and look like a swollen stem. But as I am dehydrating this lot I could salvage quite a bit, including the scapes.

Tomorrow, I have some carrots to pull, and some tatsoi to harvest the leaves from, both have gone to seed before they are ready, but I can at least salvage some leaves, also to dehydrate + there is far too many to eat fresh.

the baby sweetcorn has disappeared, not a problem one has had in the past, and the first earlier have never really recovered from the late freeze we had. Next year I will have the fleece coverings to protect them, I could not afford this year, with other items being bought.

The peas are lazy, strong plants that only want to stay on the ground, they will not grip the canes at all, and at 6ft tall they are a tangled mess now, it’s a good job half of them are a purple pod.
My turnips are a good size, now all I have to do is find a recipient for them, 

The tomato plants have just started to get some fruit on them, hopefully I will get a glut to dehydrate. Everything else is growing ok, if not a little behind those on other plots grown on window sills. But I wanted to do everything in situ at the allotment, so I can get to a point where I can grow different varieties all year round.

As for the onions, they went in at the end of last year from sets, to try to stop the bolting by cropping earlier, this year I will do the same but from seed, apparently the flowers only appear on the second year, onion sets count as the first years growth, so in theory they should not want to produce the flower next year if sown from seed this one. Time will tell.

It was nice to sit outside the greenhouse processing the onions, it felt like I was preparing food on a camp, it also meant the scraps went straight on the compost pile without traveling to and from home first. As an added bonus the slight breeze made the vapours powerless — no tears.
One might just take up my old camp cook set and do a pea and ham soup straight from the pod, with a couple of nice crusty rolls.
It’s nice to be able to take time to enjoy the rewards of the plants in location, instead of just seeing jobs that need to be finished when the wether is more suitable, neither wet, nor a burning hazard. The joys of being a red head.

stay safe.

Reflections 2020 w22

Another Sunday been and gone without much notice, but then there is not much to notice at the moment. Today some shops opened up, but one hates to think about how certain areas of town are going to be able to distinguish one queue from another, let alone pass down the middle of the two rows and keep the distancing.

So on the last trip to the garden centre I got some soft plastic wire to make a couple of masks. There is greater risk with greater numbers, so it is definitely time for one now.
This is the part I was not looking forward to – the return of the noise, busyness and people.

For a while now my social anxiety has had a chance to relax a little, I have no fear of the virus, it has done me no harm in the past, unlike the people who carry it. So having a large personal space when out and about has almost been a luxury. But I know more people out will equal less space. There is not the room to maintain it.

I may not fear the virus, but it has taken many away from loved ones, it is still around, so if the distancing is shortening, the the masks will be worn when out.

Hopefully there will not be a spike in new cases over the next two weeks.

Stay safe,

Reflections 2020 w21

How did man manage pre-time?

Was it a simpler process, just trying to stay in nature’s rhythm? Or was the invention of time a god send to a struggling species?

I only ask looking at the last post written and finding out it was 2 weeks ago, it feels like 1. And with a good portion of the world no longer a slave to the clock, are we going to see it as a restraint to our lives, or order, when it returns?

All I know is that one has made the decision to postpone my walk along Hadrian’s wall. It now looks as though it could clash with my sister moving south, and a camp at Dartmoor and Exmoor. And Spot and myself are not in any way fit enough to do it.

During the lockdown we had an hour to get some exercise, this was shared between the allotment and Spots walk. Today we walked for the first time in months the shortest old route. We are both stiff and it feels like we have just started walking.

We could do the wall walk, Spot has a K9 rucksack for when her age catches up with her, so that is not an issue, and I could just take more pain meds. But would it be pleasurable?

I’m not doing the walk for the ‘challenge’, or to say I have done it. It is on a list of places I would like to go to.

It is a walk that can be done in a week, but I allowed for two just in case I get distracted. It is the same with Dartmoor, I may just camp in one place for the two nights I stay there. Just to observe and absorb.

That is if I get there without the fog. As of yet I have failed to see the Brecon Beacons without a sheet of rain hitting the car window. I have heard rumours of sunshine there though. This is also a place I have yet to camp.

Though a lot of my equipment is unfamiliar, with only a couple of uses together, it has taken me down below 0degC with winds of up to 53mph, I stayed dry, warm and comfortable. Not all of the sleeping system was used either, so I am confident I could go to lower temperatures. Some equipment has been replaced with alternatives to work in this tent, for those times the weather keeps us undercover,  and the walking trailer has yet to have my maiden voyage with it.

By now one had planned to have done long day walks fully loaded on a regular basis, in preparation for the longest stretch of the Hadrians wall walk. But now I am only thinking of getting back to the regular walking distance with Spot.

I may even charge up the Fitbit.