A day of great views

Taking note of the guide book advice to go early to avoid the crowds, we set off for the Empire State Building this morning. So far, this was the warmest day we have had here so there was some haze first thing.
View with Chrysler Building ESB 7 Mar 2016 (1 of 1)
We could even make out the Brooklyn Bridge where we were heading to later.
Brooklyn Bridge  ESB 7 Mar 2016 (1 of 1)
Back at street level we did some shopping. I am usually shopping for shoes in the USA or Northern Europe as in the UK, it is harder to find women’s shoes in size 9 (US 11). If you type ‘Women’s size 9 shoes’ into the search box on Ebay in the UK, it comes up with transvestite-type kinky boots, not really my style! However, I was not looking for shoes today. As we have done so much walking (and I have done more than the 5 miles a day I pledged for Lent) we decided to go to the cinema. I had meant to see The Revenant before now but not managed to so we decided to do that today (I am not one for a feel-good movie). Afterwards, sitting in Madison Square, I spotted this sign, usually ‘Keep off the Grass’ but in this case:
Grass resting 7 Mar 2016 (1 of 1)
Later, we wandered over the Brooklyn Bridge:
Brooklyn Bridge 3 7 Mar 2016 (1 of 1)
The craze for attaching padlocks to bridges which began in Paris, has obviously spread further afield.
Padlocks Brooklyn Bridge  7 Mar 2016 (1 of 1)
On the way back to the hotel, walking through the Village, we almost got run over by a motorised skateboard. We have seen several skateboards and Segways, marvelling at people who can keep their balance so well, but this was something new. As it was dusk and he had no lights, I did wonder whether he was allowed on the road but he zoomed off into the distance and we headed for our hotel.

Getting back on track: walking for Lent

My pledge to walk 4-5 miles each day for Lent came adrift towards the end of last week. I was unwell, not sleeping and could only manage very short walks scheduled around ‘must do’ activities such as work. In addition, we had visitors and I was trying to ensure that I looked after them, possibly neglecting myself in the process. However, I am now feeling better and clocked up just over eight miles on my shopping trip Saturday morning and Street Pastor shift on that night. Sunday’s total was less but I now feel back on track.
Smallwood View Feb 2016 (1 of 1)
Today began with blue sky but clouds were approaching so I decided to head out early afternoon.
Smallwood view 22 Feb 2016 (1 of 1)
More signs of spring were around. Here are some of the ladies in waiting who will be lambing very soon:
Ladies in waiting Smallwood 22 Feb 2016 (1 of 1)
In the hedgerows celandines and other spring flowers are emerging.
Celandine Smallwood 22 Feb 2016 (1 of 1)

Walking for Lent & driving to Edinburgh

As we were driving to Edinburgh in the afternoon I had to fit in my walking in the morning. Fridays are the day I do some voluntary work in a secondhand bookshop which raises money for charity. It is just over four miles away so ideal for my Lent pledge. I set off around 8.30 on a misty morning.

Misty mornings Feb 2015 (1 of 1)
The first three miles are not the most pleasant as our local lanes become rat runs at rush hour and many drivers clearly do not expect to find a pedestrian (or cyclist or horse rider) as they speed around. However, the sun did come out and light up some of the fields I passed.
Fields Feb 2015 (1 of 1)

When I got to the edge of Alsager I passed the Smiling Tree which has been painted since at least the 1970s and now has its own Facebook page and appears on other social media. Quite a celebrity.


I did my work at the bookshop and as always, had some interesting and challenging conversations with the other volunteers. James picked me up shortly after 1pm and we drove up the motorways, the weather improving as we headed north with clearer skies near Shap.M6 near Shap Feb 2015 (1 of 1)

We made good progress and hit the city boundary as the rush-hour traffic was heading out. Rain clouds were hanging low over the Pentlands promising a wet start tomorrow.

Walking for Lent Day 2

This morning my walking began in the city as I had an appointment with my hairdresser and a few other things to do there. One spark of interest that crossed my path was an elderly gentleman dressed in a pale linen suit, walking with a stick and wearing a Stetson decorated with flowers. He had turned into a side street before I could dig my camera out of my bag and ask if he would allow me to photograph him. I am sure there would be a story to tell. I only clocked up around two miles in town so late afternoon and having packed up the car for tomorrow’s drive to Scotland, I did a circuit of some of the paths and lanes near my home. Farm animals were grazing quietly in the late afternoon sun and there were signs of spring everywhere.

Sheep Smallwood Feb 2015 (1 of 1)

Snowdrops Smallwood Feb 2015 (1 of 1)

CatkinsSmallwood Feb 2015 (1 of 1)

The remnants of last year’s flowers are still hanging on. I love living in what Patrick Wright describes as ‘an old country’ and when walking, I think of the people who have walked the same route for hundreds of years. For these Lent walks I have now seven people walking with me in spirit. I have read that the more sunken a lane is, the older it is likely to be. This one has a hundred-year old badger sett in one bank and every so often the badgers clean out their accommodation and the lane is covered with sandy soil.

Seedhead Smallwood Feb 2015 (1 of 1)

Path 2 Smallwood Feb 2015 (1 of 1)

The insects are starting to emerge and there were gnats flying around which are probably not easy to see in this photograph.

View Smallwood Feb 2015 (1 of 1)

Street Art in Liverpool

Various friends have been posting their plans for Lent on social media. I have been wondering what I will give up/do and was pondering this while walking back down to Lime Street Station after a meeting at the hospital. There has been a vacant plot of land on Leece Street for quite a while and various hoardings in place. Today, building work was under way and the new hoardings were decorated with some fantastic street art.

Street Art 1 Liverpool 4 Feb 2016 (1 of 1)

Street Art 2 Liverpool 4 Feb 2016 (1 of 1)

Street Art 3 Liverpool 4 Feb 2016 (1 of 1)

I could not get a straight on shot or I would have been mown down by the traffic. By the time I reached home I had decided that for Lent I will pledge to walk at least five miles each day. My last depressive episode which began in the early summer left me with little motivation to exercise and it is something I need to get back to. Hopefully most of my walks will be outdoors but bad weather or darkness might mean some are on the cross trainer in the garage. Hopefully the weather will improve and the days are getting longer. Today I did 5.6 miles just doing what had to be done in the city.