Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Springtime on Anglesey

Its been great to see that Spring is springing on Anglesey. With the maritime influence on the weather it's usually a little milder on the coast. Thrift is my favourite coastal flower. Its the way it paints the heathland and cliffs with the new colours of Spring.

In among the gorse and heather birds are busy singing, feeding and getting on with caring for a young family. 

There is so much going on at this time of year. A closer look into the vegetation reveals a tiny world bustling full of spiders, insects and other creepy crawlies.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Brighter Days Ahead

After Winter begins to loose its grip the first signs of Spring appear. This always fills my heart with warmth and joy. Just as night turns to day new energy is all around as the sun rises higher each day.

It will soon be time to start foraging for the fresh growth of young nettle shoots and leaves of wild garlic to the sound of birdsong in the warmth of the sun.

Following the difficulties of the Winter just gone, things are so much better now and I'm feeling a new momentum. Sure there are still tough days and setbacks but my direction us upwards.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Long Dark Winter


Back in November there seemed to be little to celebrate with a substantial increase in Covid infections and another lockdown. I'm fortunate to be living in a good community with sociable and kind neighbours. We do well looking after each other.

I often find wintertime and Christmas difficult. This time for a few reasons I found myself in a really bad place, needing some professional help and taking time off work. It's true to say; one day at a time, take small steps, be grateful, and kind to yourself. 

There is no doubt that I was in a bad way for a while but with the right support from my GP practice, neighbours, friends and family, things are taking a turn for the better. 

In many respects I have got off lightly. I'm also aware that many others who suffer with depression and anxiety and other mental conditions may not be as fortunate as me.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Skye & The Outer Hebredies

Earlier this month me and my friend Sarah set off for the west coast of Scotland on a road trip. Our plan was to do some hiking, coastal walks and sea kayaking. It was a delight to get away through the highlands, Glen Coe, beyond Fort William and along the beautiful road to Arisaig. The late afternoon view across to Eigg was perfect with the moody skies.

The Isle of Skye welcomed us with a walk to its southernmost headland Point of Sleat. We were rewarded with steep rocky paths, deserted beaches, breathtaking panoramic views and muddy feet!

I had only been to Skye before by kayak so had not see any of the interior. The day we went to see the Old Man of Storr, Mother Nature was in a grumpy mood. There were only rare glimpses of sunshine between frequent blustery showers. Optimists describe this kind of weather as 'atmospheric'. I certainly agree because this combination produces rainbows.

Staying for a couple of days at Glenbrittle gave us the chance to rest up. However, it wasn't long before we were itching to get out kayaking. We found caves, waterfalls and otters all with the splendid backdrop of The Cuillin Hills smothered in tumbling mist.

A couple of days later we arrived on the Isle of Harris and headed immediately for the famous Luskentyre Beach. It is prized for being one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. There are hills nearby where you can easily reach a vantage point, or you can while away the day wandering, exploring and generally messing around.

Heading north to the Isle of Lewis we found Bostadh Beach on Great Bernera. This is a great place to expolre. The family we met as we arrived had been kayaking and seen dolphins! There are also the remains of an Iron Age village. By far the coolest feature is the large bell mounted on the rocks. When the tide comes in, the waves wash against a hinged paddle which in turn rings the bell.

As we packed up to leave Bernera we realised that we were heading into the latter part of our trip. This is possibly why this local resident was reluctant for me to get to my car. It was a little easier to head home because the weather was deteriorating and daylight becoming more scarce. I can't wait to get back!

Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Further afield

As summer progresses we are now permitted to travel further afield. A gentle walk in the Peak District was called for but this was easier said than done because many folks had the same idea and it was difficult to find anywhere to park. Eventually I found parking in the woods next to Ladybower.

I couldn't wait to get back to Anglesey! Some short easy paddles in the sea, coastal walks and simply enjoying the scenery that I had not seen for ages.

Most of all it was all about meeting up with friends, getting out on the sea and messing about in boats! Having the canal close by had been a lifeline during lockdown but being able to take in the sea air was heavenly.

Now that campsites are opening it's all about enjoying the warm summer weather, spending the evening round a campfire with a beer or two and sleeping in a tent.

Lately I've been heading north into the Yorkshire Dales and further into Southern Scotland to test myself with some gentle hillwalking. The waterfalls and woodland of Swaledale around Keld are captivating. 

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Covid Spring

Getting out and about is key to making a good recovery from my hip fracture. The weather gods have been good to us in lockdown life giving us warm, dry sunny weather. I set myself daily mini-adventures. I set off on my crutches early each day in search of what springtime has to offer.

There is always plenty going on at this time of year. Green shoots emerging, buds bursting and birds singing everywhere. The ranks of the resident British songbirds are reinforced by warblers which migrate here from Africa bringing the dawn chorus to a crescendo in mid-May. One of my favourite highlights is listening to woodpeckers drumming in the woods. 

I have also been enjoying foraging for food. Wild garlic regularly goes into my salads when I can get it and I have been using nettles in my curries in place of spinach.

I was given a DIY manual by the physiotherapists when I was discharged from hospital. With physio clinics unavailable I have enthusiastically keeping to the routine. This, along with daily walks seems to be paying off. I've even been very carefully doing some short bike rides!

Ultimately I have been wanting to get back into a boat. My friend Chris has been helping by meeting me at the canal in Sale with a canoe for me to use. The lates news is that I have managed to get into my sea kayak without too much trouble and even been out on my stand up paddleboard.

Friday, April 03, 2020


Help was soon on hand as many of my fiends came to see what all my swearing was about. After all the pain subsided a little I got some help from a couple of friends, got up onto my left leg and began to assess the damage. There was no way I could put weight onto my right leg. I managed to hobble my way round to the passenger seat of Chris' car and get in. I was lucky that Chris had offered to give me a lift for the weekend.

It had only been a silly stumble. Surely this couldn't be all that serious???

My ideas ranged from pretending that nothing much had happened, and that I would be alright in the morning, to realising that I had fractured my hip and should go to hospital as soon as I got to Manchester. 

As we got closer to home I called my neighbour Lindsey who is a paramedic and was off-duty that day. She asked all about my injury and offered to take me to A&E. I managed to hop / hobble into Lindsey's car then off we went to hospital. Once there I managed to transfer to a wheelchair without too much trouble. Before too long I got through triage and again managed to transfer from the wheelchair to a bed without too much pain or difficulty. This led to the idea that my injury might not be too bad after all.

The radiographer's expression changed once she saw the images. I asked, "Is there anything you can tell me?" In a lowered tone, she muttered, "Don't move! It is broken."

The Doctor looked at the x-ray and began to explain... I'd didn't understand his words so I interjected and in a hopeful manner suggested, "Okay, so can I go home now?" The doctor replied, "err... no!" Before I could express my disappointment he explained that I would be immediately admitted for an operation to pin the fracture in the morning.

My horror was somewhat subdued by the generous dosage of painkillers. On the on hand I felt comforted by the professionalism of the hospital staff, and on the other I was terrified at the prospect of major surgery. I had never spent the night in hospital before.

The next morning the operation went really well. For me it was just like switching the light off for a couple of hours. To my surprise I was able to get out of bed the very next day and use a Zimmer frame to get around. 

One day later I could use crutches, then after four days in hospital I was released back into society just before the UK went into the first of the coronavirus lockdowns.