Second part of 13 things that have been important to me in ’13.
If I’d spent any time listening to Classic FM in the last ten years, I’m sure I’d have less grey hair than I do now.
This year I started a trial of vegetarianism which you can read about here. Although concerned with animal welfare, I wanted to explore the health benefits of a vegetarian diet and the environmental benefits. Although I haven’t yet sat down and really considered my feelings, one unexpected result of the trial, which continues, is that I love goat’s cheese which I originally hated. That might sound really trivial but for a somewhat picky eater, I’ve tried lots of different dishes and recipes throughout the year and broadened my horizons. I have more than halved my meat intake, upped how much fish I eat and certainly seen benefits to my health and to my wallet.
As we go into 2014, both Rob and I are feeling the need to do something even more drastic with our eating habits and health so we’re going to be following a healthy eating plan from the British Heart Foundation. Middle age spread is hitting, commutes have been taking their toll on our together leisure time and we’re generally feeling achy and lazy. Our diet isn’t all that varied, we are creatures of bad habits. This is no new year’s resolution and our goals and measures of success will be realistic. I expect to blog on the subject!
Long distance walking
Long walks have been a something I’ve enjoyed for a long time, but it was a couple of years back I undertook my first serious walking challenge, when I completed the length of Hadrian’s Wall in 5 days. This year I was overjoyed to be joined in Scotland by Rob who had never done any real distance walking before. With our friends Adele and Illya we completed the Great Glen Way in 5 days.
I wrote in August about how I am recreated by taking time out, exercise, visiting new places. Scotland may have been soggy, far too hilly and exhausting but we had a fantastic time. Sharing it with my husband was particularly special.
We set ourselves the challenge to walk the length of the Thames Path (see photos here) but at 184 miles we decided to do it over the course of a year. This has already slipped even with 10-15 mile walks planned one weekend a month. Although I love the goal achieving part of it, Rob is not so bothered and just loves the walking, especially the walking with friends bit and so we’ve taken the deadline off and will make the experience the goal, enjoying the walks with friends, not focusing too much on finishing the path in any set time.
We’re also looking at another week away this year, potentially the Cumbria Way.
I blogged earlier this year about why I supported the change in law allowing equal marriage in the UK. I was a happy woman when the legislation passed and I look forward to 29th March 2014 when I’m going to try and find a marriage between 2 guys or 2 gals and throw some confetti.
Mum’s next door neighbour
A lovely lady (herein called T) moved in next door to my Mum this year and they have become firm friends. T cooks for mum, trying out new recipes on her and they could have opened a cottage industry making wild garlic pesto using the leaves that grow throughout Mum’s garden in the spring.
T has taken Mum to the opera and the ballet and therein given her some lovely new passions. They go charity shop shopping together and between them have 16 cats, Myrtle pictured left.
It will be 10 years this June that we lost Dad. I know Mum will always, always miss my Dad but for her to have a friend of her own, figuratively and almost literally on the doorstep, who she doesn’t also manage in her charity shop, or she isn’t related to, is wonderful.
My home town gets quite a kicking from its inhabitants and from those who probably haven’t ever been. It featured in another one of those tat books – Crap Towns – this year. We are somewhat ill defined, being a large, diverse town only 30miles from central London, having London tv and being a place people know as they pass through on the way to Birmingham. But we have the Chiltern Hills, Red Kites, open spaces, historic buildings, rich diversity of people and a long and significant history. We’re swamped in greenery but are losing our hospital services. We have a brand new shopping complex, but some of our schools are under-performing. A new homeless centre recently opened, but we have areas where 1 in 4 children go to bed hungry.
This year I helped administrate a page dedicated to the town on Facebook and am constantly saddened, though not altogether unsympathetic, by some of the opinions of our inhabitants regarding the town. We’re trying hard to make the page a positive place, sharing info on local businesses, organisations and generally having productive conversations about what’s happening in these difficult times. Following the completion of my 365 photo project in November, I’ve decided to turn my camera towards town in 2014 so will be trying to capture the nature of High Wycombe Buckinghamshire and its people. Keep an eye here.