Busy, busy being creative..!

Thursday, 20 October 2016

The Grinning Man

Poster from Bristol Old Vic

I love going to the theatre and when my friend Bod suggested a night out I was very keen. The options were to see Giselle (ballet) or The Ginning Man which was billed as 'A Macabre New Musical' I opted for The Ginning Man.

What we didn't appreciated when we booked the tickets was that we would be attending a World Premiere.

Seated and awaiting the curtains to open, a tall man came out and introduced himself as Tom Morris (War Horse), the Artistic Director. He thanked us all for attending this very special evening (at this point Bod & I looked at each other in excitement), then went on to introduce the theatre photographer who was poised to take the very first photographs of the show, and to talk a little about the production before he dipped back behind the curtain and the musical began...

From the very opening bar of music we were captivated as the bizarre story unfolded before us. At certain points we were so blown away by what was happening on stage that we were mesmerized. It really plays to all the senses. 

It's dark, funny and freaky. I loved it. 

The story is inspired by 'The Man Who Laughs' by Victor Hugo - A story I wasn't familiar with until seeing this play. I also discovered that Victor Hugo wrote this book while living in exile on Guernsey. 

This excited me, as you may know about my next project which is all about Islands around the UK. The character 'Grinpayne', who was portrayed by Conrad Veidt in the 1928 silent film, is believed to be the inspiration for Batman's Nemesis - The Joker. Something I'd commented on during the play as it had occurred to me that there was a likeness between the characters. Looking at this old poster from the film you can see why. Scary!

Promotional poster from the 1928 film

If you love theatre or even if you aren't sure if you do, but would like to try something different, I'd really recommend going to see this. It's on until 13 November 2016 at Bristol Old Vic.

Even though you can watch the 1928 film on YouTube, I'd still say Go see The Grinning Man Musical!

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Old Books, New Adventures

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I’ve started to research and plan my next Creative Adventure…

This next trip is all about Islands

Islands around the UK

And the stories and experiences they hold

I’m VERY excited!

For the past few months I’ve been feeling rather down and not my usual self. Disappointed that I had to cancel the Lundy trip this year, not really feeling motivated and struggling with being on the edge of the rabbit hole, I had some small trips planned (the Bothy at Peppercombe, and later in the year Snowdon) but I didn’t really have a big adventure in the pipeline.

As usual I had ideas zipping around my head (Driving my Figaro to Japan was a contender – has been for many years that one!) but was finding it difficult to settle on one. One that really grabbed and excited me. I’d started researching my family tree, joined the Weavers and Spinners guild and started to learn to card and spin fleece…but something was missing. 

It was after a rather emotional chat with the fabulous Judith Morgan, that I knew I needed to commit to my next trip and to start research and planning straight away. Island Hopping, Island Odyssey or the snappily named ‘The Creative Adventurer visits as many of the small islands around the UK as possible in as many different ways as possible’ started to take shape. This was an idea that kept popping up so thought, OK I need to grab this one and work with it. 

My recent Book Barn haul. Cost just £12 for all these gems! RM Lockley, I've discovered, lived on Skokholm Island and has written over 50 books about Island life, nature and birds. He sounds a fascinating character and warrants further research. His book, The Private Life of A Rabbit, inspired Watership Down. 

So that’s what I’ve been doing for the past few weeks. I declared this as my next project in the business group I'm in on 27 April at 10:46. Prior to this announcement it had popped up on my mind maps and in my note book, way back even in February and I’d mentioned it on my blog on a Wish List that I posted on the 04 February and I’m sure it had been floating around as an idea well before that. Personally, I find it interesting how my mind works in that way. How long it can take before I grab a particular idea and start to turn it into reality. How about you? What happens when you get an idea? Do you act on it straight away? Let it sit for a while? Days, weeks, years? 

Since then I’ve been collecting books on Islands, reading about Islands and I’m looking for people that live on these Islands. I've become a tad obsessed by Islands (in a good way!) and I find old books a great inspiration. I have also been reading Tiny Islands by Dixie Wills; Lundy, Rockall, Dogger, Fair Isle by Mathew Clayton & Anthony Atkinson and Grand Adventures by Alastair Humphreys, so its not all old books I'm using for research.

I have discovered that there are around 4,000 islands around the UK, and of course the question then is – what constitutes an Island? Some are just giant slabs of rock that only birds can really land on so I’m not planning on visiting those. I’m looking for the interesting, the quirky, the creative, the traditional celebrations and crafts, the hidden gems, the stories, the things that make these islands special. I’ve already got a list of about 60…and counting. There is so much to explore around our own coast. 

Shall it be one trip…or split into ‘legs’?  Initially I’d thought I’d set a budget say, £500 and how many Islands can in visit for that? Quickly realising that actually not that many, even travelling as self-powered as possible. I am still working out the finer details as I read about different islands and hopping from each one. I know I want to cycle on some of them.

As with my Brecon’s 2 Morwenstow Pilgrimage last year you are invited to be a part of this adventure. Be that joining me on one of the islands, sponsoring a special postcard (I’ll be creating postcards as I visit each Island, quite a few have their own stamps), or sponsoring in some other way. I am looking for ways to make it just that little bit different.  I’ll share more as this adventure grows from a seed into a plant. There are already a few roots...

Until then I was wondering – have you visited any of the UK’s small Islands? Where have you been? What was your experience? Do you know anyone who lives on one that you’d be happy to put me in touch with? What Islands should not be missed? 

Drop me a line or comment below. I’m very much looking forward to sharing this next Creative Adventure with you!

Toot Toot!

Monday, 25 April 2016

A Bothy Adventure

A few weeks ago this was the conversation...

'Soooo Richard, you know I fancy going razor clam hunting? It's on my 40/40 list? Well....I’ve just discovered that the National Trust have a Bothy in Peppercombe! That's North Devon near Clovelly, which is RIGHT by the beach and seeing as its been a bit rainy for camping, we could stay there? It's a converted pigsty and only opened for rental last May. There is cold running water, an outside loo, no wifi, electricity or heating...only £20 a night and dogs go free!'

Yep, sounds good. Lets go!


I rang up and booked straight away. 

We were sorted to go 22-24 April. Spring Time.

We’d spent the past few days putting EVERYTHING together we thought we would need – after all it was just going to be like camping – but with out the tent, well a stone tent. Had the stove, plates, mugs, hipflasks (topped up with whisky), blankets, sleeping bags, mats....etc..etc... I packed lots of layers. What could possibly go wrong. I’d been camping before, I knew the score. 

We loaded up the car (it seemed awfully full for just two nights away) and set off. It was a damp evening and dusk was falling when we arrived after a 2 hr drive. There was still enough light to see to unlock the gates (you get given codes to get through two sets of gates as Peppercombe is all National Trust owned) and made our way slowly down the uneven tracks to the Bothy.

'Is that the sea there in the background!' I squeaked excitedly as we got closer.

Even though it was drizzly and grey you could still see that the little white bothy was in an amazing location.

It was overcast and raining when we arrived.

We parked up, I got out the car clutching the piece of paper with the code for the Bothy on it.

There was a problem. The lock wouldn’t open. I tried the number again. Still locked fast and didn’t budge. ‘Rich’ I called ‘can you have a go with the lock.’ Richard had taken Cerys puppy out of the car and was now standing beside me. He took the lock and tried again. Nothing. I checked my phone. No service. Ah would have to go back up to the A39 to call the helpdesk. They’d still be there till 9pm– it was currently just after 8pm. Suddenly I had an idea, ‘try the same code as the gate.’ We held our breath as Richard tried that code instead. Click, Success! Signs of relief. Now we could get in. *Phew*

I knew it was going to basic, and that was fine. It was part of the fun, part of the adventure.

We started to unpack and set up our beds on the raised platforms at the back of the bothy. There is a fireplace, with a ‘No Fires’ sign boldly on display so I hoped we’d packed enough layers. A sink with running water and a small worktop to put the stove and cook/prep food on. Pretty much all we needed.

Out came the stove and on went the kettle for the obligatory ‘arrival cup of tea.’

There was still a bit of light outside but in the bothy we needed to use our torches. There were also some candles on the fire place which I thought was a nice touch, so lit those. It was starting to feel cosy. 

The bothy has two raised platforms to sleep on and the most luxurious embroidered curtains!
Unpacked and fuelled with tea and with the light fading fast we set off on a short explore down the path to the right of the bothy towards the beach. We didn’t get all that far before it became too dark to really see and even with torches decided to head back to cook dinner and have a proper explore in the morning. 

Half way through cooking dinner the large torch we’d brought cut out. 'Darn it. Is it on a timer' I asked? 'erm no came the reply – I think it’s flat!'

Some ingenuity was called for to set up the small torches we had which was easy enough and cooking resumed.  Should have brought our head torches!

I noticed it was starting to get rather cold. 

We tucked in to a very tasty dinner (pork in a chilli marinade with rice in case you were wondering) and had a glass of red wine. Sitting huddled in the bothy - me trying to keep warm, it wasn't long before we decided to call it a night and clambered into our sleeping bags ready for a good nights sleep. 

I was cold. I could feel the cold seeping up though my camping mat and into my bones. Why am I so cold I thought! I’m normally so cosy in my nordic sleeping bag suitable for minus conditions! Richard – who seeming to be hot all the time anyway, was snug as a bug. I put on some more layers and gradually went to sleep. 

I woke up a few times in the night as somehow I’d slid down my mat and was hanging off the end of the platform. I wriggled my way back up and went back to sleep. Woke again when it was light and decided to get up. It was 6.30 am. I hadn’t slept very well at all and felt cold and grumpy. 

Slipping on my shoes I headed out the door to use the ‘loo with the view’ and was greeted by the most amazing sight. My feelings of coldness and grump slipped away as I saw Lundy Island on the horizon. I walked the short distance to the toilet and as I sat there watched with delight as the birds flew around in the tree above. The sun was shining and it was going to be a beautiful day. A beautiful day to head down to the beach to search for razor clams. 

The excitement was back.

We sat outside in the sunshine and ate porridge and drank tea as the whole area around us warmed up. After breakky and a quick wash (cold water tap!) I decided against putting on my bather and thought we’d investigate first. I’d checked the tide times and low tide – when a stretch of sandy beach is uncovered, was from about 13.05. 

We were already heading down to the beach by 10.30am.

Peppercombe beach is flanked by the most amazing cliffs of red sandstone, which apparently are unique to this area. I’d seen a photo of a waterfall on this beach so we set off to find it. Cerys Puppy seemed to be having the time of her life bounding about on the pebble beach. That’s the benefit of having FPD - Four Paw Drive. I needed both my sticks to navigate over the rocks and it seemed to take a long time to get anywhere. 

Peppercombe Beach is very pebbly until low tide when stretches of stand are accessible. You still have to clamber over the pebbles to reach the sand though!

We found the waterfall and stood for a while looking out to sea at the spectacular view. There is just something about being by the sea that fills me with joy. I’d been past this way last year on my Brecons 2 Morwenstow Adventure but hadn’t made it down to Peppercombe Beach that time.

'Lets head for that patch of sand' said Rich as the tide was already on its way out and a large swathe of sand was becoming visible. Getting to the sand meant climbing over and through (I was super glad I’d opted to wear my wellies rather than my walking boots) loads of rock pools. They were full of bright red anemones and very very small crabs. The limpets that were hanging on to the rocks were some of the biggest I’d ever seen!

Once on the sand we started to look for the tell tail signs of razor clams. A small indentation in the sand and a sand cast near by. Nothing so far...we walked and looked as Cerys ran around us clearly enjoying herself. 

After a while I spotted what looked like razor clam evidence. Look I called – here! Does that look like razor clam evidence? 

'Yes it does!'

Excited we looked closer and then noticed more ‘sand casts’ 

'hmm hang on' said Richard. 'I think we are creating these – look...'
and sure enough he went off and walked in a loop creating the very same ‘sand casts’ I thought were razor clams!

so that’s be no then, no clams!

We carried on looking but there were none to be found. I’d thought clams were to be found on any stretch of coast. Appears not, so we decided we’d head to the pub for lunch instead. 

We soaked up the sun and I paddled in the sea (still wearing my wellies) before heading back up the path and up to the pub which is a 30 min walk at ‘Mo speed’. 

We arrived just after they had stopped serving lunch. Typical! We always forget about the ‘lunch serving times!’ We stopped for a pint of their finest beer (which turned out to be called Neet and is by Bude Brewery) we sat in the sunshine watching the cars hurtle past on the A39. Great beer, not such a great view. Dogs aren’t allowed in the bar, you see, so outside it was for us. 

I’d forgotten what drinking at lunch time does to me so after a very, very nice pint and feeling rather ‘light headed’ we went back down to the bothy to cook some lunch. 

We chose to cook outside over a fire and it was just perfect. Collecting fire wood – I stayed away from the actual fire making as still slightly woozy! oops, and cooking outdoors.

There was some kindling in a bag in the Bothy, I’m guessing left behind by the previous people who stayed (thank you!) and I’d brought some Alfred’s Cakes as keen to try them out. 

Alfred’s Cakes are a type of fungus that if you let them dry out are great as tinder to start a fire. I’d learnt this on a Mushroom foray we’d been on a few years previously.

Ah the fire and the BBQ was super. 

Delicious and just lovely!

Rich booked to have dinner at the pub at 18.00 so we could be back at the Bothy for the sunset and a fire (and to get the hipflasks out).

The food was good at The Coach and Horses and we had another pint each of the Bude Brewery Neet as it was so good. Richard opted to have the steak and ale pie which looked like it had Lundy island fashioned out of puff pastry on it! It was a good pie he said and my lasagne with garlic bread was tasty. 
Just what I wanted. Followed (of course) by a very delicious sticky toffee pudding with clotted cream. 

Everyone at the pub was friendly and its a good little place.

Time came to wander back again down the lanes to our Bothy and get a fire going. 

The sun had disappeared behind some clouds and a wind was starting to pick up so as Richard set about making a good fire – I re-organised the sleeping arrangements with a hope of being warmer. I put more blankets under my sleeping bag over the camping mat and an extra blanket over the top. I hoped that would be enough. I was also planning on sleeping in even more layers than the previous night. Fingers crossed!

Richard had a lovely fire going and I brought out the wine and the hip flasks ready to enjoy the sunset. 

It was a bit too cloudy for anything spectacular and the wind had picked up again sending an icy chill around my neck. I pulled up the hood on my fleece. Put a woolly hat over that then put up the hood on my windbreaker and zipped it all up. I couldn’t move my head to look around me and had to turn my whole body – but boy it was snug!

It was just my legs now getting the cold blasts. I’d stupidly not packed my thermal leggings and my bum cheeks were numb with cold. I’d also forgotten gloves and even though Rich offered me his I found another solution. Hiking socks make for good mittens!

I didn’t really care I had socks on my hands and I was zipped up like a zipped up thing, I was keeping out the cold. 

We sat for a while by the fire swigging from our hipflasks like true adventurers but the cold wind got the better of me and I had to retreat  inside to the shelter of the Bothy. I was learning a lot about what I should have packed for this trip! That’s what this was though – an adventure, an experience of really going back to basics and seeing what we / I needed to be comfortable, an opportunity to learn what kit I needed next time. 

I didn’t mind about the cold water tap or the outside loo, or the fact there as no electricity or no wifi. I really enjoyed those elements. It was being cold and not getting enough sleep that I didn’t enjoy. Richard, thankfully was fine which was good. I was quite happy to be able to go into the Bothy and be shielded from the cold bitter wind. I could still see the sea through the small window and was looking forward to the evening drawing in and lighting the candles. 


The change of sleeping layers worked and I was much warmer although still not quite warm enough. In my mind I was comprising a list of things I’d bring next time....thermal base layers, long johns, sheepskin rugs, hot water bottle, some way of heating the bothy – what was that heater made from a terracotta pot and a tea light I’d seen on facebook that time? a camp blanket - like the one I’d had when I was in guides that was covered in my badges....A lantern of sorts, solar maybe as well as a solar shower...?? I'd packed my solar monkey and that had been brilliant.

Being warm was turning out to be the biggest basic need for me. Before we’d set off on this adventure I hadn’t realised that would be the thing I'd miss the most and how that would impact on everything else. Lesson learnt!

After a breakfast of beans and half a pasty for me and beans and scrambled egg for Rich, we packed up and loaded the car. I noticed an itch on my hand and realised I’d been bitten so got out the bug repellent. Well actually its Avon Skin So Soft Body Oil as it works a treat at keeping bugs at bay. 

Well when I remember to use it. I tried to spray some on my hand but the spray didn’t work. I twisted it about a bit and tried again. nothing. ah it must be broken I thought. I got Richard to have a go. Same problem, so he suggested I just open the bottle and dab it on. It was when I unscrewed the lid to pour some out that I noticed it was solid. Yep It was FROZEN. ah ha! so THAT was why I couldn’t spray any out.......! 

We laughed.

I hope now you aren’t thinking I’m such a cold weather woose! 

We loaded up the car

Swept out the Bothy 

Locked the door

Climbed in the car, waved farewell to the Bothy and headed back up the lane towards home, a warm home, all the while thinking about what our next adventure will be...

The Loo With A View!

You can hire the Peppercombe Bothy for £20 a night through the National Trust and it’s right near the coastal path. Just make sure you pack enough warm clothing/bedding!

To book visit their website here: National Trust Holidays

There are also some lovely Landmark trust properties to stay in too (I rather fancy the 1930s Summerhouse pictured below) – which have heating – but are of a different budget and experience. ;-)

I'd like to stay here next time!!

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Start at the Start

OK. So yesterday I committed to spending the next 40 days learning how to do a handstand and not giving up. Guess what, this morning some further ideas for a book I’m working on started jumping around my mind for my attention and the handstand commitment was momentarily forgotten. 

Do you also suffer from idea-i-tous? Sounds painful I know. It’s an interesting condition. One where your mind has so many ideas all at once you can’t decide which one to focus on, so more often than not it all feels waaaaay too overwhelming and none of the ideas get let out of your mind and if some do they only get as far as a hastily scribbled note on a scrap of paper. 

As I’m sure you’ve deduced by now this is how my mind works. 

So how am I going to see this 40 day challenge through?

I’m going to Start at the Start

Starting with what I know already. What resources I have, considering what equipment I need and who might be able to help me.

I have the emails for the 28 day challenge I signed up to and last night I tweeted Chris to let him know I was now ready and committed. He responded with some encouraging words and offer of support as an when I need it. Very kind of him.

Having posted about this on Facebook a friend has connected me with a friend of theirs called Ben who actually runs handstand courses in Bristol. He seems really lovely and helpful. Until last night I didn’t even know you could do such a course in Bristol and that Handstands or Handbalancers as they are called, is the new thing. The latest fitness crazy apparently. 


I have to be honest though. The idea of going to a class and learning in a public space does make me feel rather nervous. I’ve not signed up…yet…The question that comes to mind though when I consider this reaction is – How serious am I really about doing this? Surely going to a class would be a good idea regardless of if I make a tit of myself or not? 

Yes good question!

Whilst I build up to actually taking that step there is PLENTY I can be doing each day at home. 

So far I have:
  1. Downloaded the book about how to do a handstand by Chris Salvato and started to read it
  2. Tweeted Chris (as mentioned above) and emailed him outlining my goals
  3. Put all the emails related to the handstand challenge in a folder in my email called – Handstand Challenge. (Note to self: Am I actually getting organised or faffing about?)
  4. Updated the free handstand progress chart that comes with the course with the dates I’m learning and printed it out. I’d much rather see it stuck on a wall than on my computer as it can still be hidden away in a file. I’ve also dug out some coloured stars to stick on said chart each time I complete my daily 5 mins or more on my handstand practice. Where to put this? Decided on my fridge door. So I’ll see it A LOT!
  5. Been thinking about when I can actually do the training. I work three mornings a week with an early start so mornings on those days are out. That means afternoons when I get back home will be better. Before or after lunch? After I think. Then on the other days I’m not working I’ll aim to do my training first thing. Before I do anything else.  Yes I’m happy with that.
  6. What next? Well to get my mat out...

What have you decided to commit to doing for the next 40 days? Juggling? Going to bed rather than falling asleep on the sofa? Eating breakfast. It can be a really small thing.

If you can’t decide – jot down the top THREE that you are considering and just pick ONE.

Then think about where you are with this. Have you tried in the past but not stuck with it? (so you’ll already have some experience) are you starting from complete zero? 

What resources do you already have? What do you need? Be careful with this one. I could for example say I can’t possibly start my handstand training until I’ve a complete lycra fitness outfit to wear and some new trainers, and then it will be – oh, I’ll have to go shopping to get that and can’t go till next week and then I get to the shop and try stuff on and think oh but I’m not quite the right shape for that yet – I’ll wait till I’m fitter to get that….Get where I’m going with this? That would mean I’d have lost at least a week’s worth of handstand practice when all I need be doing is downward dog and some stretches barefoot for 5 mins a day at first. 

Only get new resources if you are 100% sure that you can’t do your thing without them – OK?


Bye for now


Ps – have you checked out the Creative Adventure to Lundy Island yet? Take a peek

my 'reward' stars!

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

For 40 days I’m giving up ‘Giving Up’

A recent conversation with the lovely Jessy of Jessography prompted these words about giving up. We were talking about behaviours and as it was Pancake Day the concept of giving something up for Lent came up. I’ve never really given up anything for Lent before. Rather than giving up say sugar, meat, complaining or smoking which seem to be the most popular, I’m giving up a behaviour. 

That behaviour is Giving Up to soon. Quitting. Throwing in the towel before I’ve really got past the starting blocks, stopping something after only three sessions because I'm bored. Not FULLY committing to what I was doing (or said I was going to do from the outset...I’m sure you get the idea. Sticking, you know like a stamp sticks to an envelope.

I'm interested - are you a giver upper to sooner? Or are you a keeping on keeping on no matter what-er until I’ve done it kind of person? Or somewhere in the middle?

Don’t get me wrong, I can stick and see things through but I find somethings like learning to handstand or play the guitar difficult and I am more prone to giving up too easily.

As a result of this conversation with Jessy, I’m challenging myself for 40 days to ‘Not give up’ on something. And that something is Handstands.

Handstands? Pha? Is she serious…???

Yes I am.

You see ‘Do a Handstand’ is no.12 on my 40/40 project list and it’s something I’ve been thinking about for months but as yet have not actually taken any real action on.

I signed up to Chris Salvato’s 28 day Handstand challenge on the 03 December 2014. DECEMBER 2014!! It’s now February 2016!! The daily emails arrived. I looked at three of them, then just let them pile up. I wasn’t really committed. I still have the emails though...

After I completed my epic Brecons 2 Morwenstow Adventure, doing a handstand was the next goal…but that hasn’t happened as I’ve stopped training with Team Breakthrough in Bath. It just went back to being one thing on my 40/40 list to do.

Now and again I’ll watch a you tube video of ‘How to do a handstand’ but my hands haven’t touched the floor.

I even went to see a short film at the Adventure Film Festival of a chap doing a handstand on the top of a tower on the Isle of Man to inspire me to get on with it…but that was weeks ago and yet again I’ve not started. It was Too Hard.

Today I’m committing to spending the next 40 days of lent on not giving up learning how to do a free standing handstand.

This is a challenge for me as a result of the stroke I had when I was 12, my left leg feels heavier and I have much less control over it. Sometimes it even seems to have a mind of its own!

Actually, I think part of not getting further with this is that old pal fear. Fear I’ll hurt myself.  I’m not as light and flexible as I was when I was 12 (the last time I actually did a handstand) I don’t want to end up in a crumpled heap having done myself a mischief that's for sure. 

This means that in my mind I’m struggling to actually believe I can do this and to see myself doing a handstand. Considering this, I’m going to combine the daily handstand activity/exercises with visualisations and instilling a belief that I CAN DO A HANDSTAND and see where I get to in 40 days. 

Yep you spotted that - this will allow me 12 days longer than the 28 day challenge created by Chris Salvato and possibly/hopefully more achievable for me. Will just have to see.

My ultimate goal is to do a handstand at the top of Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales – which I’ll be climbing in August (no. 31 on the 40/40 list)Research shows that if you stick at something continuously for a period of between 21-30 days it is more likely to become a habit. Now, I just have to DO IT! (or JFDI right).

Here we go…

How about you – is there a behaviour you could benefit from giving up for 40 days? 
What would it be? Maybe going to bed too late, eating badly, being too hard on yourself?

I'd love to hear from you!

If I can help you by coaching you through these next 40 days with your own challenge – let me know ;-)

Pip Pip!



Monday, 8 February 2016

Audio books, knitting & the joy of new to me discoveries

I’ve recently discovered a love of audio books.

Last year I re-started knitting. First some small hats for innocent to get me started and then on to a bigger project. A Fox Scarf for a Christmas present.

I discovered that I wasn’t actually able to knit AND watch TV at the same time as I needed to keep my eyes on the knitting! I wonder if I'll get to a point of being able to knit and chat and watch TV at the same time? (doubtful!)

Having discovered I was able to borrow audio books for free from the library - downloaded direct to my laptop I thought I’d give it a try. I'm a big fan of the library.
Ooh it’s rather brilliant! (I’m sure some of you are already aware of this treat and have been enjoying this for years!) For me, I’ve discovered a new joyful activity.  

I’ve listened to a few now and my current favourite is The To Do List by Mike Gayle. Being a list lover and also a fan of Danny Wallace’s Yes Man, this book appealed to me. I loved it, so much so I even tweeted Mike Gayle to tell him (love twitter for this kind of thing!)

I liked the fact it was about those ordinary jobs that tend to get put off. Those little niggly jobs that are on our minds but never seem to get done? Not the BIG lists (like the 40/40 list or having a bucket list) things like – getting that picture framed that was bought on holiday a few years ago or painting that piece of furniture picked up at the charity shop….you get the idea? If you've not read it - or listened to it - I think you might enjoy it. ;-)

Actually this isn’t a post just about that particular book but more about the joy of ‘new to me’ discoveries. What are your 'new to me' discoveries?

Are you an audio-book lover? Have you discovered a new joyful activity recently? Or re-discovered a love of something?

Love to hear from you



ps I've been listening to an audio book this morning as I work on my Sketchbook project

The fox scarf knitted whilst listening to an audio book! ;-)

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Wish List

Hi! Hi! OK Yes I know I have my 40/40 project list that I'm working my way through....However, this is a different kind of list. This is a wish list of other adventurers I'd like to go on at some point. 

I'll add to it as and when and really its an open invitation to be involved with some of them if you'd like to...

1. Stay in all the Landmark Trust buildings in the UK

Reason: The fascinating buildings and their stories. So far I've stayed in one on Lundy Island in 2015 when I took a fabulous group of ladies to Lundy for a Creative Adventure. 

We stayed in the Old Light Upper and from that moment I was hooked! I'd actually come across an article about the Landmark Trust years ago in a magazine that I'd cut out and kept. What a fantastic adventure that was! I'm going again this year if you'd like to join me? see Lundy 2016


2. Visit and stay on (if possible) all the islands around the UK

Reason: I have a bit of a thing about islands! I think its partly due to all the Famous Five books I read as a child (erm and as an adult!) And when I say Islands I don't mean all the little bits of rock jutting out of the sea willy nilly and only big enough for one person to perch on whilst standing on one leg. I mean 'Island' as defined by the British government in 1861 when they set out the parameters for classifying an island. It was decided that if it was inhabited, the size was immaterial. However, if it was uninhabited, it had to be "the summer's pasturage of at least one sheep" - which is about two acres. 

I've yet to establish an exact list of which these islands are - that will be my next task. 

So far I've been to (and stayed on) The Isle of Wight, Lundy Island and Burgh Island. So three down out of a possible thousand.....!

3. Stay in all the Tree houses in the UK (and then the world?) Let's start with the UK!

On the Canopy and Stars website there appears to be 23 tree houses in the UK you can stay over night in. Are there more to be stayed in?

Also, isn't there a restaurant in a Tree house somewhere?

Reason: I love tree houses. I stayed in one when I was in Thailand in 2014 and at that moment had a desire to stay in lots more (and of course have my own at some point!) Well the desire to stay in a Tree house was there way before I stayed at the one in Thailand - that's what got me into the tree house in the first place!
Plus who wouldn't want to stay in lots of tree houses? I'm seeing this as 'research' for my ultimate dream of having my own woodland which has tree houses galore and a central meeting/healing hub where lots of exciting and creative things happen. It is also a place where people who are suffering from depression can come to experience the benefits of being in a creative and natural place. 

4. Walk The Way of The Gull

Reason: After my Brecons 2 Morwenstow adventure last year I discovered how much I love walking and how much it actually helps my mobility. Yes, my knees did hurt a fair bit with all those darn steps and I did get a few blisters. BUT my hip pain went! As you may know I had a Brain Hemorrhage when I was 12 which is a form of stroke. As a result I was paralysed down my left hand side and had to learn to walk again. I still have a limp and reduced mobility which is helped with the aid of a STIMuSTEP implant. 

So I'd love to do more physical challenges. (I did do a 350 mile bike ride in 2006 with a specially adapted bike. Well, the amazing chaps in the workshop where I worked at the time made me a special pedal. Without that I wouldn't have been able to completed the bike ride). Heck that'll be 10 years ago this year! 

So yes more of that kind of thing! Climb Machu Picchu is also 'on my list'

5. Drive Henry my Nissan Figaro back to Japan

Now then this might be one of those adventures that never happens. (esp having done some research into it and being put off by what I read about taking cars on the Tran Siberian Railway...) but with a team of the right people, a film crew, funding...this would be totally do able. The Figaro celebrates being 25 this year...

Reason: A few years ago, on my way to work one morning I was stuck in traffic and I started to wonder 'what's the furthest a Figaro has ever driven? What would it be like to drive Henry home? as in to Japan???

The idea was planted and it keeps popping up now and again. If you are reading this and thinking - heck yes that sounds cool I'd like to do that too, then message me. With a team (and some funding) I reckon its doable! ;-)

As you can see these aren't all going to happen this year kind of adventures. I guess they could be done in a year if I wanted to - but this isn't about the speed in which these are done. It's going to be more about getting folks involved to join me on these and to be apart of them in some way. Folks like you. 

Hmmm now then I could run a Creative Adventure on each Island I want to visit/stay on - that would be fun, or see if I could stay at all the Landmark Trust places in one year (late last night the idea crossed my mind about'How do-able would it be to start at the top - i.e Scotland and walk between each Landmark Trust property all the way down to the bottom which would be the Nicolle Tower in Jersey....which would also be a tick in the 'stay on an island' box....This would take a rather long time...How long though I wonder?

OR....well there are lots of different ways to do these wish list items....(as there is with pretty much anything we approach or decide to do. There is always more than one option)

These are a few things that have been buzzing around my head that I wanted to get down on paper and 'out there.' I'm sure you know as well as I do that as soon as you start talking about something you'd like to do, things start happening to help 'make it so'...

So that's me, for now, how about you? What's on your wish list? 

Bye for now!


04 Feb 2016