August book reviews(s)

Book number 14

Book read: The Little Princess by Casey Watson

One of the most powerful and emotional books I’ve ever read was ‘One Child’ by Torey Haden which I read sometime around 2004. The contents of that book were horrifying and humbling and caused me to take a different approach to life and really appreciate my own upbringing.

This short book was also sickening and also described the abuse of a 6 year old girl. The girl had been removed from her own evil parents and was taken in to spend Christmas with a foster family. While only a short story I feel full of admiration and respect for families such as Casey’s who consistently give generosity and kindness in such tragic circumstances.

 

Book number 15

Book read: Thunder and Sunshine: Around the World by bike Part 2 by Alastair Humphreys

Wow… another superb book which I read quickly as I found it difficult to put down! Having travelled pretty much the length of South America in 2016 I could closely relate to many of the places Alastair visited on his epic adventure from the tip of South America or ‘El Fin Del Mundo’ (the end of the World) to the top of Alaska.

OK… so Alastair cycled and I took the soft luxury option travelling by plane, bus and cruise liner however I was able to visualise many South American places as well as LA, Seattle and Alaska.

The book continued with Alastair’s incredible cycle journey through Siberia… in the winter and then through Asia and back into Europe inspiring me to do something more adventurous and push a few more boundaries… I’m not yet sure what…

Alastair had some awesome quotes in his book too, particularly towards the end as he reflected on his fantastic journey:

Page 341: How mad we are to neglect our body, the very machine that carries all our thoughts, emotions, ambitions, dreams, fears and our life itself. And yet we still expect to live smoothly, healthily and happily to a ripe old age.” So very true and something I am very conscious of… especially now that I am 50…

Page 339: I decided to see some of the world and to escape from England and the conveyor belt of my life” most people probably do live on a conveyor belt of a life and conform to a similar pattern without even questioning they could be doing something different…

 

 

 

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Another camping weekend for 2018!

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Early morning tent view at Coopers Campsite

Our second camping weekend of 2018! Last weekend we stayed in Coopers Campsite in Edale, a quaint village nestled in Derbyshire’s Peak District. We climbed Kinder Scout in lovely sunny weather on Saturday and somewhere near Derwent Reservoir in torrential rain on Sunday!

Coopers is quite different from our previous wild camp weekend… this time hot showers were available, the campsite had a cafe where we had a cooked breakfast each morning and the Old Nags Head is just across the road! Coopers is also at the end (or beginning…) of the Pennine Way!

 

 

 

Kinder Scout… hill or mountain?

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Chris and me on Kinder Scout

As the highest point in the Peak District in Derbyshire I had always thought of Kinder Scout as a peak or a hill rather than a mountain. However, as Wikitravel and other websites classify Kinder Scout as a mountain, I’ve added it as the third mountain climbed in 2018! (And at 636 meters it was actually higher than Slieve Tooey last Saturday which is a mountain…)

Chris and I had a great weekend with 5 of our friends where we camped in Edale and climbed Kinder Scout last Saturday in lovely sunny weather.

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Torrential rain the following day

By complete contrast we climbed another two peaks the following day in torrential rain, temperatures not much above freezing and high winds!

 

 

Week 34 walking update

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Kinder Scout, Peak District

 

Running total (to week 33): 1,312

Miles walked in week 34: 59

Total walked so far in 2018: 1,371

 

A good effort this week with quite a few of these miles completed during a fabulous hiking and camping weekend in the Peak District in Derbyshire.

With another 18 weeks left in 2018 and a new target of 2000 miles walked I will need to keep the pace up and walk an average of 35 miles each week for the rest of the year!

(2000 – 1371 = 629; 629 / 18 = 35)

 

“Application unsuccessful…”

So, I heard about the job application today with an email to inform me that “My application wasn’t successful and I must be disappointed…” (job rejection letters are always a bit patronising…)

Oh well… never mind…

I’ve learned from 13  years in the Civil Service that applying for a job is more about how you word the application form than whether you are actually any good and suitable for the job or not! I think a lot of people must have applied as they only considered the first ‘competency’ (another civil service thing…) out of 5 or 6 competencies that I gave examples on…

At least I now have an up-to-date application form of examples, albeit they probably need a bit of work to shape them into ‘civil service style’…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slieve Tooey

My second mountain of 2018! As part of a group of 7 I climbed to the 511 m summit of Slieve Tooey in County Donegal, Ireland last weekend. After a fantastically warm summer of record breaking temperatures, our climb was wet and windy with the remnants of Tropical Storm Ernesto at the top! Thankfully we were in the safe hands of Kevin, our guide. With the mist and poor visibility at the top his navigation and map reading skills were essential. A full blog post of my Donegal weekend can be found on my travel blog.

 

 

Walking update week 32

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Liverpool early morning walks!

I’ve had a busy week with a few days in Liverpool for work and a weekend with my family in Suffolk! Keen to continue with my walking mileage and also to spend a bit of time exploring I got up early 4 times this week and did 2 x 3.5 mile early morning Liverpool walks and a couple of early morning (1 x 4 miles and 1 x 6 miles) beach walks in Lowestoft.

Early morning is a beautiful time of the day when the sun is rising and there are hardly any people about.

Running total (to week 31): 1,232

Miles walked in week 32: 37

Total walked in 2018: 1,269

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Lowestoft beach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Job application!

I’ve actually applied for another job! As ‘Head of Digital and TechEd’ but for another Government department it seems similar to the job I currently do and I spent a fair amount of time trying to get the application as good as possible… this is the first job that has really jumped out at me all year so far…

As mentioned 6 months ago, I love the flexibility of my current job so I’m hoping this opportunity would also enable me to work from home a couple of days a week and with a similar flexible working pattern…

This is already a ‘win win’ as even if I don’t get an interview at least my application is up-to-date meaning future job apps will be easier! But lets see how things go… will provide an update in due course…

 

 

 

Ice bar birthday drinks!

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A trip to Below Zero ice bar in London seemed a different and somewhat novel treat for my daughter’s birthday and an opportunity for me to tick this one off my list!

We arrived in sweltering temperatures of +31 degrees so it was a good day to spend some time hanging around a bar made from ice and drinking a pina colada from an ice glass! We had to ensure we were wearing gloves to pick them up so that our hands didn’t freeze to the ‘glasses’ and as we drank from them the rim of the thick ice glass slowly began to melt!