Well, I’ve finally stopped coughing and sneezing. I’ve done nothing this week other than drag myself to work (when I’d finished being off sick of course), come home, drink tea and feel pretty sorry for myself. Still, I seem to have come out the other side in one piece, and today I looked at the glorious sunshine and decided it was about time I got out in the fresh air.
I’d arranged to meet a friend for lunch, and up until this morning we hadn’t decided where to go. Today though, it was so sunny that I just couldn’t resist pulling on my boots and going out for a Proper Walk. This isn’t something I do all that often these days – yes, I’ll walk to the train station, and the shops, and sometimes go for a bit of an amble round the fields after tea, but this was a rucksack-and-an-ordnance-survey map type of walk.
We decided to meet a friend for lunch at the alpaca farm, several miles from home and not on a bus route. Sometimes I have to trick myself like this – if I’d gone out for lunch and then planned a walk, I might have found all sorts of more interesting things to do, but if I have to walk to get somewhere, then undoubtedly I’ll enjoy it.
There’s a steep wooded valley that heads out from the city towards the peak district. It’s understandably very popular, with a footpath on one side of the stream, and a bridleway on the other. It’s always fun to see who else is about, and I’ve always got an ear out for snatches of other people’s conversations as they stride past.
I reached the end of the path, and climbed up onto the top. Those sheep have got a fabulous view.
An hour and a half after I set off (and only ten minutes late – not too bad) I arrived at the cafe, to find this pesky chicken peering through the door watching people eat.
I gently suggested it might move out of the way…
… and then realised this was clearly not a chicken to be messed with, so I stepped gingerly over it, open and shut the door very quickly, and settled down for a nice cup of tea, a bit of cake (oops, not sure about lunch), and a couple of hours of catching up with a lovely friend I haven’t seen for ages.
They look quite cuddly in the afternoon sunshine, don’t they? Apparently alpaca wool doesn’t contain any of the fats that are in sheep wool, so it doesn’t need the same treatment before you use it. They sell untreated alpaca fleece at certain times of year, and I know there’s a guild of spinners and weavers locally – might try my hand at something a bit new in a few months time…
Eventually I realised it goes dark not long after 4pm these days, and if I wanted to walk home and still see where I was going, I’d better get a move on. Boots facing back towards the city, I waved my friend off on her bike, and started walking again.
I can’t resist taking pictures of my own shadow. I usually also can’t resist taking pictures of my own feet, and any cup of tea I might be drinking at the time, so consider yourselves lucky that you’ve mostly got scenery in this post today.
I did make it home before dark, just. According to my precise measurements (using the well known bit-of-knitting-wool-and-a-map-that-doesn’t-quite-reach-my-house method) I walked about 9 miles. Nine miles! I never got further than about 4 miles away from home – and just look at the views! I really do love where I live, and I don’t get out half as much as I’d like to.
If I didn’t stop to chat for 2 hours in the middle, I could do that walk in a morning and still be home in plenty of time for lunch.
Food for thought….