As Summer turns to Autumn and the woolly jumpers and endless mugs of hot chocolate slowly start to reappear, it’s time to look back at the highs and lows of August.
I’m not sure I mentioned it in my look back at July, but July ended on a sad note as two of our family members passed away. One, who had was in his late 90’s, the other, taken too young. As we stepped into August, the rest of the month was on hold until we knew the dates for their funerals, as this would determine when I would need to head home.
I had already planned a trip home in August, and it made sense to combine the funerals with a trip to the Shire.
Here’s a look at how the month unfolded:
I began August on a bit of a mission. As I creep closer to 40, I’ve become a lot more health-conscious. I’ve always classed myself as someone who is reasonably fit and healthy. I pride myself on getting out for a walk at least once a day every day, and I’ve always felt my diet is balanced (mostly), although there are certainly areas I could improve on.
As I sat back and analysed my step count for the year so far, I realised that although I was walking more than the previous year, I was still a long way off the recommended 10,000 steps a day.
I had put on weight since moving to London. I think a lot of it was to do with the long office hours I was working and not getting up and moving about enough.
As I moved into the freelance world earlier this year, it could’ve been easy to fall into the same trap. But this time, I was under no time constraints. I had no boss hovering over me, restricting my movements. If I wanted to head out for a 2-hour walk in the middle of the day, I could.
Before August kicked in, I would sometimes go for my walk mid-afternoon to prevent the 3 o’clock slump, or I would head out once I’d finished work to clear my head before dinner.
Following a short heatwave in mid-Summer, it was far too hot for this redhead to venture out in the middle of the day. So, I started getting up and going for my walk first thing in the morning. I thought I would struggle to maintain my early morning walks once the weather changed, but there’s something so calm and peaceful about getting up early and watching the world begin to wake up.
The route I take doesn’t quite get me to my 10,000 steps, so I do tend to take another shorter walk later in the day, but I’m so pleased that throughout August, my average daily step count was 10,170.
Although I can’t see much noticeable weight loss, I feel much better after getting those steps in. There’s also something satisfying about getting the majority of them in before I start my working day.
Whilst out walking last month, I also immersed myself in the local countryside. Wherever I ventured, and no matter what time of day, I seemed to find myself surrounded by wildlife and nature.
I’ve always loved the countryside, but I’m often so busy walking I forget to look at what’s around me. Taking the time to take photo’s and record videos of the local wildlife has made me slow down and appreciate the nature I have on my doorstep.
At the beginning of the month, I also had a visit from an old school friend. I met her at Waterloo one grey and cloudy Sunday morning before walking along the Southbank and crossing the river to St Paul’s Cathedral. As she hadn’t been to my flat before, we headed back to Kingston, and I showed her around the town before heading to the Giggling Squid for a delicious Thai evening meal.
It was nice to have some different company again, and I always love an excuse to head into London. London was quieter than I had imagined it would be, despite it being the school holidays. With fewer crowds, it was easier to see the beauty of London’s historical buildings, but with fewer people walking the streets, it has sadly lost some of its vibrancy. Fingers crossed, tourists will return soon and bring back the magic London has lost during the pandemic.
Horsley and the Lovelace Bridges
August also saw me take a trip to Horsley with my local Meetup group. In and around Horsley, Lord Lovelace built 15 horseshoe-shaped bridges to transport timber from the nearby woodland to his East Horsley Estate. Only 10 of the bridges remain today, but it was lovely to learn about them as we walked through the Surrey countryside.
An Extended Visit to The Shire
Mid-month saw me heading back to Northamptonshire for my Great Uncle’s funeral. As my other had planned to get involved in Carnival related festivities towards the end of the month, I decided to enjoy an extended stay in the Shire.
I arrived back home the day before my Great Uncle’s funeral. It was lovely to see my family again, although we knew none of us would be able to relax into things until the funeral had passed.
I won’t dwell on the funeral too much, but it was nice to see relatives again who I hadn’t been able to see for over two years. It was sad to see them again on a sad occasion rather than a happy one. As usual, we left saying we would have to find a happier reason to get together soon.
Although I was working throughout my stay, it was nice to spend some time relaxing with my family, taking some nice breaks for lunch and continuing with my August walking goal.
I still find meeting up with people outside my family quite tiring after lockdown, but I did manage to meet up with my friend Kim for a lovely meal out.
We also took a couple of trips out whilst I was staying. The first trip was to the Nagarjuna Kadampa Meditation Centre at Thornby Hall. I had been hoping to visit the meditation centre for a while. It’s free to enter, but there is a fee for the meditation sessions and retreats. You’re free to wander around the grounds, and there is a small cafe where you can get some lovely vegetarian food. I was also impressed to discover they cater for those who are stuck with eating gluten-free bread. I say ‘stuck with’ because gluten-free bread is often like cardboard, although I have to say, I was impressed with the bread here.
The Meditation Centre wasn’t quite what I was expecting. The building looked quite tired, presumably after being locked up for the last 18 months. I also expected it to be a little more authentic than we found it. But despite its tired look and lack of authenticity, it was still a pleasant afternoon out, and it’s worth a visit, even if it’s just for a bite to eat and a walk around the grounds.
Our second trip out was on the Saturday of the August bank holiday weekend. We woke early, and dad drove us to a lovely place called Heacham, which is on the UK’s East Coast. We were lucky with the traffic, and it only took us 2 hours to get there from the Shire.
Heacham is just south of the ever-popular tourist resort of Hunstanton. As the sun had decided to come out, we decided to take a walk from Heacham to Hunstanton, where we would stop for lunch before walking back to Heacham.
With the tide in, most of the walk we took was along the esplanade. There is a short section of South Beach to walk along before reaching the esplanade. South Beach is stunning, with its sandy beach and wild dunes. Along the esplanade, there are beach huts and chalets with the occasional view of the Norfolk countryside behind them.
We reached Hunstanton in time for a fish n chip lunch before heading back to Heacham.
It was lovely to feel the sea air on my face and the breeze in my hair. I always say I’m a mountain girl rather than a beach girl, but there’s still something magical and wild about the beach.
The other exciting project I had on my hands whilst I was visiting the Shire was upcycling an old table I had brought back from my old flat.
My outdoor wooden table and chairs had taken quite a battering from the weather and my cat when I lived in Battersea. I felt like I wasn’t ready to part ways with them, so I decided it might be fun to give them a lick of paint and use them in my flat somewhere.
The table is now my new desk space, rather than working from my dining room table, which has given me a much nicer working space.
It was so much fun to do! Now that I’m back home, I keep looking around to see what else I can upcycle! So keep your eyes peeled for future projects!
Despite the family funerals, August turned into a good month. We didn’t quite get the summer weather we had all hoped for, but I think us Brit’s are used to getting about and enjoying life despite the lack of sunshine!
How was August for you?