Easter Morning Walk With My Dad And The Dog

It didn’t look as cold as it was when we went out for our early Easter morning walk with the dog, Despite the pale yellow of the sun, and the washed blue of the sky, it was only 5 degrees outside, and very, very cold.

My Dad and I walked round and round a large grassy, open space in the park, as the dog, filled with the giddy delight of the spring morning, chased ball after ball with endless, lolloping enthusiasm.

I was miserably chilled as the wet grass soaked through my trainers, and my lips felt numb. My Dad though, 72 years of age (and equipped with the wisdom of many, many similar walks) was better prepared in his hat, coat and sturdy wellington boots. I cannot count the times in my life, he has advised me to wear warmer clothes, and I have ignored him.

Why is it that we sometimes forget to listen to the well-intentioned wisdom of those around us? Today, I watched him throwing countless tennis balls for the dog, and I felt a renewed sense of admiration for his kindness. The dog felt it too. Her eyes were focused intently on him as she revelled in the delight of his attentions.

"This spring as it comes bursts up in bonfires green,
Wild puffing of emerald trees, and flame-filled
bushes." D.H Lawrence

This Easter morning, the park had spaces and places everywhere that were filled with beauty. Families milled around, and friends walked, and chatted to each other. Dogs enjoyed the freedom and the fun. It was important to be out, and to be living. My Dad, the dog and I were all sharing a moment of Easter morning joy.

What to do this Easter Morning…

  • Go outside
  • Notice what is beautiful
  • Connect to those around you
  • Listen to the wisdom of others
  • Be grateful for the good things in your life

Is Green Juice Good For You?

Michelle Williams. Emma Roberts. Reece Witherspoon. Anne Hathaway. Jennifer Garner (to name a few) all seem to think so!

I have to admit that I am VERY aesthetically driven. I must also admit that I am more than a little open to being influenced by images of glowing celebrities, slurping down their mid-morning juice in various hues of health-giving green. With that out of the way – what is so wonderful about green juice?

As a colour, green is not one that I am drawn to in style, or in interiors, yet there is something unmatchable and uplifting about the colour green. This week I am off work for Easter, and have more time than usual to stand still and observe the world round me. The local gardens and parks are verdant with their spring growth, and everything sings of newness.

Is that what we are looking for when we drink green juice? That sense of fresh newness? Why else would we choose it over the perhaps more luscious and berried alternatives? I bought a juicer last week, and have been slurping my way through mason jar, after mason jar of my own concoction of fresh green juice on ice. Made with cucumber, sour apples, lemon and lime, it is an honestly uplifting drink!

The Verdant Benefits Of Green Juice…

As I sit on my garden bench sipping, I am also slightly smug in the (obviously Googled) knowledge that I am:

  • Hydrated
  • Aided in my digestion
  • Given a source of blood-pressure lowering potassium
  • Helped with protection against inflammation
  • Supplied with a little immune boost
  • And enjoying a delightfully fresh thirst-quenching drink!

Vintage Running Shoes…

This morning, I started running, and then it happened – I kept on running!

Today was a perfect spring morning- sunny and frosty at the same time: the perfect temperature for embarking on the first ‘run’ run of the year! I have been doing regular exercise, including the odd burst of running, but today marked the first determined run.

Starting Running Can Feel Scary

I think there is always a sense of trepidation when you haven’t run for a while. Will I still be able to do it? What if I can’t run any more? Have I lost all my ‘running fitness’? The only thing to do is to get out there, and put one foot in front of the other!

What made today’s virgin 2021 run so great was that I had a running companion: my sister. She has been working on getting fit since the start of the new year, and to see her progress is both inspiring and heart-warming. It was great to be by her side.

The morning was beautiful, and the streets were empty, and the red brick of the houses were washed with the pale sunlight, and we kept on running. Sweaty, exhausted, weak, thirsty: exhilarated. We did it.

Isn’t it funny how releasing endorphins can peel back the years? I didn’t care that, to motivate her to run the final stretch up the hill to the gate, I might have looked foolish, pretending to be a trotting horse. I only cared that we were running together. The first run of spring, in our vintage running shoes. And we will keep on running.

If you are thinking of running:

Get out of the house: Just start!

Put one foot in front of the other.

Be your own cheerleader!

Oprah Winfrey said, “Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it.” And I think this morning run was about more than the run, it was about determination, and taking the plunge, and doing it together.

As we stood under the magnolia tree, getting our breath back, we were already planning our next voyage.

Unexpected Kindness

Friends are wonderful. Friends are uplifting. Friends are fun. Friends are all around us, if we only look…

One thing I have noticed is how much people need other people. I know this is something we have all realised, more so than ever, since March last year.

Another thing that has equally become apparent- neighbours are keener than ever to be friendly. And that is a good thing.

Our street, which was much quieter, and more compartmentalised a year ago, has become warmer, friendlier, and more connected.

“Friends, family, neighbours are like flowers.”

Although we are all staying two metres apart, and calling to one another from across the street, there is a definite feeling of greater community spirit.

Just around half an hour ago, my next door neighbour and her daughter called to my gate, to wish me a ‘Happy Easter,’ and they gave me a beautiful bunch of flowers…

Friends, family, neighbours, are like flowers. Each one able to brighten our days, in different ways. We are all capable of beauty.

Better Late Than Never!

A day late, in honour of ‘National Burrito Day’ (I know I don’t live in America, but I have lots of relatives there- so surely that counts?!) I decided that it was essential to enjoy a Boojum burrito bowl for lunch.

Is there anything nicer than an unexpected Boojum burrito bowl on a Friday lunchtime? I was pondering what to make and stumbled on serendipitous inspiration on Google.

That got me thinking about unexpected pleasure. Is something more enjoyable because you didn’t anticipate it?

I always thought that anticipation was a huge part of the treat. But is serendipity perhaps better? Then we aren’t burdened with expectation, and are, perhaps, liberated to then enjoy the experience, in a different way. A more ‘in the moment’ sense of pleasure.

My Boojum was delicious. It was an unanticipated treat. It was, in my son’s words ‘Delectable’ and isn’t life more lovely when we find tiny, unexpected things to enjoy?

Wonderful Walking

Why don’t I always remember to leave the house every morning, before I start the day? I am sitting in my kitchen, enjoying my second cup of Nespresso Nero’s coffee, and I am so happy that I have already enjoyed a walk in the park.

Today is one of those perfect spring mornings, where everything looks more beautiful. The sky is a pale blue, and walking no longer requires a coat!

The dog felt it too! She was delighted to get out of the house earlier than usual. Ignoring the other cavorting dogs (who usually leave her on high alert) she bounded and rolled and popped in the air, celebrating her early morning freedom…

I joined her- it is very liberating to forget your age, and play hide and seek behind trees. I even got stung by a nettle!

I know all the cliches of spring and new beginnings, but I suppose things are often said, until they are worn out, because they are true. Today, after this lovely start to the morning, I feel uplifted and hopeful and grateful for the day.

I am going to try to pass on this gratitude to others. I will have a coffee with my Dad. I will ask my son about his music. I will celebrate the possible.

Blooming Beautiful!

Is it a true sign that you’re comfortably in your forties, when you start getting excited about bulbs blooming?

I don’t know if it is being locked down (probably it is considerably due to this) but I have been taking an inordinate amount of joy in seeing the bulbs that I planted in Autumn growing and starting to bloom. Like Wordsworth says, ‘then my heart with pleasure fills/And dances with the daffodils.’ And not just daffodils – tulips, and badly planted hyacinths too!

Despite the fact they are badly spaced, and some are squashed against the edges of the pots- I planted them. I planted them with my Mum. We worked together, with sore knees and covered in compost, on a sunny Autumn weekend afternoon, and now the flowers are coming, after all that time.

It is the change of hour too, that makes everything so much brighter- literally! It is lovely, standing in the garden in the evening, enjoying the stretch in the day. What was nicer too this evening, was the joy of the fact that you are allowed a friend in your garden again. Catching a glimpse of my son sitting (socially distanced) on a bench chatting happily to his friend (on another bench) made life seem brighter again.

Fit and Fabulous- Online With Friends

It was only when lockdown started that I realised how important exercise is. Admittedly, I was fairly lazy until I reached my thirties when I suddenly felt the need to work a little harder to stay looking good. And, since then, I have been somewhat of a dilettante where exercise is concerned- for several months, a committed runner; for several others, a spin zealot; for those hot summer months, a keen walker. I’ve espoused the virtues of them all!

After March 2020, I suddenly realised that not only was exercise so important to me for the effect on my body, it was the social and bonding aspect of exercise that I also enjoyed so much.

Since then, I have made it my ‘thing’ to exercise online with friends. In these socially distanced times, YouTube has provided much inspiration (and many laughs- at ourselves) as, over video calls, we have danced together, grunted encouragement for our squats, endeavoured to twerk, tried boxing, walked countless steps and basically bonded over the shared joy of generating endorphins together!

Another small pleasure that stems from this new pass-time is the opportunity to acquire (and live in) new fitness wear. Where pre-pandemic internet trawling would have involved much lusting after boots, bags and coats, now there is a new delight in finding an extra comfortable pair of high-waisted leggings. Who knew that the sight of a rainbow of ready lycra could lift your heart? The simple pleasure that can be found in a reliable trainer sock, that doesn’t slip under your foot as you work out!

Exercising together can bridge the generation gap too! My Dad is an avid golfer, but with the courses closed during lockdown, he came on board too. There is something very special in learning a routine to a Britney Spears track with your 72 year old father! That’s the strange joy that can be found in doing the things you normally do in a different way.

Finding the Fabulous…

Life at 44 years old is quite different to how I envisioned life at this ‘vast age’ from the perspective of youth. Unlike the manner in which I (very unfairly!) judged my parents and relatives, I don’t feel ancient, rather I feel like a more healthy, homely, happy version of myself.

As a single parent of a 22 year old, who has devotedly helicoptered her way through motherhood, I am no longer at the epicentre of my son’s world! While this is liberating, it also brings about the consideration- who am I at 44?

The answer is- a slightly saner, more relaxed, more wrinkled version of the 20 year old me. And- someone who has slightly more time on her hands, now that the co-dependance of besotted motherhood has lessened.

I am now a person who takes inordinate joy in trying to paint a portrait, in perfectly plumped feather cushions, or in making my own very cucumbery green juice. I find myself drifting in several times a day to stare at my newly organised box shelves. I scroll through countless pictures of dressers, and then chalk paint mine bright blue in an afternoon. In short, in this strange new world, I have found ways to take joy in the simple and to find it fabulous.

This blog is a celebration of finding joy in the simple moments we create.