Today (26 th) I got up early and went for my usual walk this time leaving the house at three-fifteen. It was a reasonably warm morning with a gentle breeze from the south-west. Unless rain bearing clouds and high winds come from that direction we can almost guarantee fine warm weather. The only activity I saw at that hour were one or two taxis dashing about at breakneck speed as if the drivers had only minutes to live! They get away with it because there are few police patrols and they know all the short-cuts. Why do people feel the need for speed? Perhaps I am getting too old, well I know I am but with age comes wisdom (for most of us). Don’t misunderstand me, I once drove like an idiot too occasionally! When I returned home I was feeling neither too warm nor too cold, just about perfect conditions for me. Later at sunrise I began to work on the lawn project once more. During the day I spent a total of six hours on and off doing the work but there was still a lot more left to do when I decided to stop for the day.
Notice the change in the picture colour. I can only put that down to the time of day and the conditions The first one was taken when it was cloudy and the second when the sky was blue. Anyway I began the work at six-fifty and was pestered by mosquitoes for the first two hours. I think it was the lack of wind allowing them to hover about me. Later the breeze picked up and I had no further problems with them. I don’t think the English variety bite but they are still a pest. I am not sure but I think they are attracted by the carbon dioxide we exhale and perhaps the smell of newly dug soil doesn’t help. Perhaps I should wear a net over my head! Once the grass is taken away the shrubs can be planted followed later by the membrane and the finishing touches.
The alarm went off at two in the morning and woke me up when usually I am lying there waiting for it to ring. I must have been just that bit more tired on Friday evening. What happened next sometimes happens after I switch the alarm off though not often, I dozed off again but woke fifty minutes later. Saturday was a day for my walk and I was ready to get out there and take it but it was very windy and cool. Would it be too windy I thought? When I had gotten dressed I skipped breakfast opened the front door and braved the elements as they say. The wind wasn’t as bad as I had thought it might be but then again I was sheltered close to home. As soon as I had reached the first street pointing west toward the coast I could feel the brunt of the wind but it still wasn’t as bad as I imagined earlier. The walk this time took me along The Promenade which runs parallel to the seafront but a quarter mile inland. It passes behind the town’s clubland and being a Saturday morning I was half-expecting to see some alcohol-imbibed people staggering about as sometimes happens if it isn’t pouring down with rain. I wasn’t disappointed. The first person I came across was a middle-aged man leaning on the frame of the shelter he was beneath. He couldn’t do otherwise it seemed as he looked a little unsteady on his feet and his eyes were glazed. ‘Good morning’ I said. He seemed taken aback, well he would wouldn’t he being in the state he was? No reply. I repeated my greeting and with a look of disbelief I guess he responded. I carried on with my walk. Across the road ahead I saw four younger guys dressed in shirts and trousers who were walking away from The Promenade back into town through a passageway. One of them stopped to relieve himself against the small wall there. There seems to be no shame with people today in what they get up to. You would think anyone wanting to urinate would find somewhere a little more discreet. Further along I saw four children walking aimlessly on the sidewalk. They were about the age of eleven or twelve though one appeared to be older, say fifteen. What were they doing out so early (or late) I wondered? Lack of parental control no doubt. Finally all that was behind me and I had reached the point for me to turn back homeward along the seafront.
Here the wind was at its strongest and my eyes became glazed too in the face of it. I decided not to walk the entire way back along the seafront leaving the last mile and a half or thereabouts to turn into the built-up areas where the wind wasn’t as bad. According to the weather forecast the day ahead would be miserably wet and windy. I would stay indoors and out of it .
I didn’t intend taking a walk on Sunday morning (26 th) because I hadn’t had a good night’s sleep or that’s how I felt. I must have had plenty of sleep though for I couldn’t account for the hours I was in bed! Sometimes it goes like that I know for there has been many a time when I have woken up feeling tired even though I’d had the sleep. After breakfast I felt much better and more awake and I considered taking the walk but left it for a while to allow my breakfast to digest a little. It gave me some time to check emails and other things. Finally I opened one of the windows to get a feel of the conditions outside; it was cold but it was dry and there was hardly any wind to speak of. It meant I had to wear something extra to keep me warm so I put on a scarf and took along a pair of gloves just in case. I had a long-sleeved warm top on beneath my jacket and decided boots were the order of the day once again. I wear heavy woolen socks when wearing the boots but still insist on wearing a skirt rather than covering my legs with trousers or jeans which I never wear anyway, don’t even posses them. It isn’t my legs which feel the cold when it is cold, it is my hands mainly and of course my body but that I make sure is kept warm. It sounds from all of this that it was biting cold on the day but it was actually 14 deg C at the time. Had it been really cold of course I would have been wearing heavier clothing beneath the jacket. It is after all still summer and not likely to freeze all of a sudden! I took a slightly different route than I normally take but still ended up on the seafront. That night there had been a full Moon and it shone faintly and rather eerily through the heavy cloud covering the sky over the sea. A couple of miles off shore stands an oil/gas rig and the faint glow of the Moon was above it looking like some alien craft hovering menacingly with evil intent. My imagination runs riot sometimes. It was whilst I was on the seafront that I put on the gloves as my hands were beginning to feel cold in the breeze such as it was. When I got home it was still dark but just about sunrise time. I hadn’t noticed the flag lying on the ground instead of hanging on the pole. It was after I had watched some catch-up tv and had a coffee I happened to glance out through the window and saw that something was missing.
I put on my coat and went to the flagpole. The rope had severed and the flag had dropped. I opened the covered cleat where the rope is secured using the key and pulled out the rope from inside the pole. Ours is the type in which the rope runs up inside the pole and out at the top down to the flag and the weight to weigh it down. The flag itself was looking a little tired and worn so I ordered a new one and a replacement weight, one which would look better than the original supplied which is a plastic-covered heavy chain.
It meant of course that I would need to erect the tower around the pole in order to lift off the top half in order to thread the rope down inside. I have done this once before and it isn’t that easy because of the weight of the pole; even though it is aluminium. It would be a week before I could to that and then only if the weather permitted. Happy days.
On Thursday (26 th) the weather turned hot again after a few days of cooler times. I had arisen at two o’clock in the morning after what had been a really good night’s sleep. The previous night had not been so good as far as getting off to sleep was concerned. It was a sort of knock-on effect, not sleeping well the night before left me tired and going to bed even earlier than I have been going lately. By eight o’clock I was fast asleep and because five hours is around the time I need I woke at two. Sensible folk would have stayed in bed I suppose but that is something I very rarely do once I am awake. So what does one do at that hour? Watering the garden was one thing I got out-of-the-way. Washing clothes another, watching catch-up tv another and soon it was dawn. I’d eaten breakfast of course and although a walk could have been taken I was set to do the weekly shopping at eight o’clock instead. Yes I could have done the shopping later but I have found it much easier to shop when the store has far less other shoppers milling about. By the afternoon however the sun had turned the day into a scorcher and going for a walk didn’t seem inviting. I usually take my walks early in the day whilst it is still relatively cool. However by the afternoon I had become restless and decided a short walk down to the shore would help and the cooler sea breeze would help to cool me down too. Against my better judgement therefore I went for a short walk which stretched further and further until in total I had walked four and a half miles! Sure enough it was cool along the seafront but by the time I had gotten home I was as red as a strawberry and perspiring profusely. It took me ages to cool down and it reminded me that, as the saying goes, ‘[only] Mad dogs and Englishmen (and presumably English women too) go out in the midday sun’.
Due to all the fine and very hot weather we’ve been enjoying, though not me I don’t like it to be so oppressive, I have not done much in the way of going for a walk. I have been taking walks but they have been far fewer. For some reason this past week (I write on 6th), I have been feeling rather strange. Perhaps it has been the heat or the fact that I have cut back my food intake or both. I have also been far more choosy in what I have been eating too though I was already eating the right stuff, that is healthily. Whatever the reason it kept me indoors and reluctant to do anything but this morning was different. I awoke early as I have been doing for some time, early to bed means I automatically wake early, and I thought I would take that walk. Perhaps I should have eaten first because by the time I returned I felt awful. I felt as weak as a kitten. Anyway once back indoors and after eating my breakfast I began to feel stronger. I had walked one of my more shortened walks along The Promenade, of course I had to get there first, and then returning along the seafront I reached The Pier. There were no people on foot and only saw a couple of bike riders as I walked along. It was like a deserted town. Some vehicles passed by though they were also few. There was a reason for the absence of people aside from the fact that it was a normal working day, it was the first day of the three for the Annual Southport Air Show and traffic had been re-routed. As I reached the pier there were vehicles of all types, generating stations, overhead sound systems and lighting, mobile food vendors and temporary metal fencing everywhere, even on the beach. Every effort had been made to ensure anyone within shouting distance of the beach event would have to pay. As for the aircraft, well you only have to be within a mile radius to see most of them as they fly past. I never visit these events now though when the children were growing up I used to take them along to watch. Even then we were able to get close enough to see most of the event without having to pay. Well it is expensive raising children!
To the woods, to the woods
I’ll tell the vicar
I AM the vicar.
The vicars wife wouldn’t like it
The vicars wife’s not getting it!
Well enough of that bit of humour. As was my want I went to bed early on Thursday evening but for two reasons, one, I was tired (best excuse yet!) and two, I wanted to go for a long early morning walk before it got too warm. After a little something for breakfast I began my walk, this time heading south. This time I took the main road as it led me directly to my destination, the little township of Formby or rather the northern part of it called Freshfield. We lived in Freshfield from ’76 till ’88 before moving to Birkdale where we are now. The main route through from Birkdale to Formby took me first of all through Hillside and Ainsdale before continuing down the Formby by-pass where I turned off into Freshfield. Once in Freshfield I headed along the main route (Victoria Road) which took me into the Red Squirrel reserve, all now maintained by The National Trust.https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/formby/features/red-squirrels-at-formbyThey look after all the woodland along the coast hereabouts. It is somewhere I am completely familiar with having spent much time either walking through the woods or running through them. I particularly enjoyed running through the woods in the hours before dawn when it was just about light enough to see where I was going. I often came across a fox or two and almost always a few rabbits. The owls I could hear but couldn’t see. The woods are special places at dawn. I usually saw the squirrels when out walking but only if one or two where at ground level would I see them when out running. I am guessing the distance to be around six or seven miles by the time I had reached the reserve. I stopped for a short rest at a picnic area where I could sit down before then walking through to the beach a further half-mile away. I stayed on the beach for only a short time but walked northward for a quarter-mile before climbing up a steep sand dune to return to the woods. Two steps forward and one step back was the order of the day climbing that sandy slope! I was exhausted by the time I had reached the top but soon recovered as I made my way into the trees and onto a small path heading north. I walked what seemed an awfully long way until I reached a little sign indicating that it was a mile and a half to the place I had just been, Victoria Road or the squirrel reserve. I walked along not coming across any other people at all, just me and the sound of nature. In fact it was totally quiet and a little eerie most of the time. Suddenly I appeared at the end of the track and was standing on the main track which circles the area. That part of the track runs alongside the rail tracks running between Southport and Liverpool. Every twenty minutes a train or two passes by. I was feeling a little tired once more so I made my way to another picnic area for a snack and a drink. I gave myself twenty minutes before I was off again and heading for the coastal road which would take me back home to Birkdale about four miles away. I hadn’t been walking exceptionally fast getting to the woods and walking through them but along the coastal road I picked up the pace and walked the four miles briskly. It was around twelve-fifteen as I went in the house feeling a little tired and hot. I recovered after a drink and prepared lunch with E. After lunch we spent some time doing garden maintenance and I watered the rear garden again. If the woods were closer to home I would most probably spend more time there. In some ways I regret having moved away all those years ago but that’s life.
Touching on yesterday’s post regarding the subject of wisdom I am glad I had been wise to follow an exercise regime when I was younger. It has been beneficial to me in keeping me fit and active over the years. Of course having an occupation which was manually orientated helped a lot too. Even so I still get tired after exercising if I push myself too hard. If I didn’t get tired at all it would mean I am not benefiting from the exercise as I should. At my age I am limited to how much exercise my body can sustain but being used to exercising I know I can do more than I could otherwise do. I love going for walks and for many years loved and enjoyed running. Some people my age still go running, I know, I see them when out walking. I have to say though that the running is more often than not like a trot. Still they are out actively enjoying themselves. I hadn’t been for a longish walk for some time so on Saturday (2nd) I made it my business to arise early and go for a longer walk than I normally take. I decided to walk down the coast to the district where I lived before I moved to my present location. I estimate the distance to be around six to six and a half miles or twelve to thirteen miles for the round trip. So with bag containing my water bottle and a couple of other items should they be needed across my shoulder I set off. My destination was the pine woods (shown above) north of my old house and I walked the coast road to get there. My return journey would take me along the beach and then through the sand dunes nearer home. As I walked northward along the beach there was but one figure in the distance ahead of me, a lady walking her dog. She was walking toward me when her dog dashed off toward the sea a couple of hundred metres away. The beaches along this part of the coast are very wide when the tide is out. The dog seemed to disappear but had in fact walked into a dip in the otherwise flat sand. The lady shouted to me that he always does this and soon enough he was back with her. We stopped and chatted for a few minutes and I discovered she lived locally. She asked where I lived so I told her adding that I too lived where she now does. She asked exactly where so I told her the name of the road then she asked which number so again I told her. ‘That’s my house’ she said, ‘I live there now’. What a co-incidence that we should meet out on a walk. She described the house as it is now and I described what it was like when we lived there and what work we had done in it. It appeared that the people to whom we sold the house in 1988 sold it on a couple of years later to this lady’s sister who then sold it on to her in 1994. She mentioned that I would know ‘Sylvia’ her neighbour and ours when we lived there to which I replied that I did but doubted she would remember me since much water has passed under the bridge since then. We parted company and I continued homeward. It is a fact that the effects of exercising or doing strenuous work don’t come upon us until long after we have ceased what we were doing. It was a short five minutes after I had arrived home that I felt worn out even so but I was soon back to normal later.
It had been at least a week since I last went for a walk and it was all due to my having too much to do in the house, specifically the cellar storage room. As I write this on Tuesday afternoon on the first day of May the room only requires that the floor be painted but as yet we haven’t received the paint. This morning I was able to go for a walk and that was mainly because E had told me that today I was to take a break and rest from my labours. Had I not listened I guess I would have started work in filling in the holes in the floor of the gym/boiler room in readiness for that floor to be painted also. My plan was to prepare the sand and grit mixture today and on Wednesday use some of it mixed with the cement and begin filling in the holes. I am glad I didn’t do anything and went for a walk instead. My walk took me three and a half miles south of town along the coastal road.
It was one of those mornings with bright sunshine and clouds but with a stiff breeze too. It wasn’t that warm but got warmer as I began my journey back home and the clouds disappeared too, though they returned after lunch. The afternoon was much cooler as the clouds rolled back and filled the sky but it didn’t matter, I was back indoors. My return journey took me through the dunes where it was much warmer being as it was sheltered from the wind but there were many insects flying about making a nuisance of themselves. I had skipped breakfast but had taken a banana and some sultanas to nibble at along the way, and of course a bottle of water. The beach was almost deserted but there were a few people doing the same as myself, walking through the dunes. If you like sandy beaches you would like Ainsdale, Freshfield and Formby for there is plenty of sand along that part of the coast. Birkdale, where I now live, has more grass and mud to overcome before the sand can be reached. I used to live in Freshfield and often went running along the beach there. Still it is only an hour and a half walk or so away from where I now live. Who is ‘M’? What is the name of my blog?
You might think that for someone who is very tired sleep comes easy but unfortunately that isn’t always the case for me. Although I had been very busy on Thursday and was tired when I went to bed getting to sleep eluded me. I tossed and turned throughout the night and felt awful when I got up in the morning. After having something for breakfast I felt so much better though I did remain a little sleepy. I spent some time on the project (see yesterday’ post) and by the afternoon I was ready to go to bed but of course I didn’t, not at that time. Later however when I did go to bed sleep came very easy and I was out for the count in minutes! I had a really good night’s sleep and should have been ready to do some more work but I decided to take a break from it and have the next two days off, Saturday and Sunday. I decided a walk was on the cards so before breakfast, which incidentally I missed altogether, I dressed to go for the walk. It wasn’t that warm on Saturday morning as I left the house but it wasn’t cold either. About half-way through the walk things changed, the clouds rolled away and it became warm in the bright sunshine. By the time I had returned home my coat was beginning to make me feel uncomfortable wearing it. I was ready to eat something so had a slightly early lunch, though it was by then approaching one o’clock. E had been busy at the top of the house and didn’t have lunch until two. I in the meantime went onto the patio to sit in the now warmer sunshine. E joined me not long after but neither of us sat there too long as we began digging out a few sycamore seedlings and weeds. We did return to the patio however to make the most of the fine weather while it lasted. Sunday looked gloomy as plenty of rain had been forecast but during the week ahead we had been promised high temperatures and bright sunshine. When we returned indoors we sat and watched the Grand National horse race, the only horse race we do watch throughout the year.
Today as I write it is Good Friday. I am reminded as always each day that Jesus died and suffered on a cross for me. This day celebrates that event. It is both a sad and a happy day, sad because what Jesus did was necessary for us all, happy because if we believe we too will be raised up to everlasting life. However, that isn’t the subject of this post. Many folk will be taking a break from their usual routine either going on a short holiday or relaxing at home. Two of my neighbours have taken short breaks away from home but for E and myself staying at home is fine though if we did take a break away from home it would most likely be out of the country. Personally I can’t see why going to a different country just to relax is necessary unless it is for the benefit of guaranteed warm sunshine. I have to say that dull and cold weather can be depressing if it stays that way too long. At the moment we are experiencing a dip in temperature after a short spell of warm and sunny weather. That is the nature of this land, it can be unpredictable sometimes. This morning I took a walk northwards on the edge of town and then turned toward the seafront. I was glad I had taken gloves with me and in fact at this time of year they will remain in the bag I carry until I know they will not be needed. It was quite a cold morning though that was more due to the south-easterly wind than the temperature which hovered around seven degrees. I was happy to return to the comfort and warmth of home later. In the meantime I did enjoy the walk, I always do.