The Walkathon

Today is day 20 of the Walkathon but we haven’t ventured out yet. We’ll go for a walk in Lyme Park today I think, although at the moment the sky is looking full of rain and it’s a bit windy! But, come rain or shine we will be going out! The past 20 days of walking every day have been lovely. Getting outside into nature is the best thing for me, especially in lockdown.

So where have we been and what gorgeous creatures have we met? Well, we’ve met Ferdinand, Gracie, Bo, Joe, Kathy and Heathcliffe, 6 gorgeous calves that are usually busily munching grass in a field near home. We’ve met the two pigs who always come running when we call for them. Although we’ve sadly been informed they are no longer with us! We’ve seen some lovely ducks, dippers and a kestrel. We’ve seen deer herds recovering from a busy rutting season and we’ve seen lots of highland cattle too. Obviously, me being me, I talk to them all and make a big fuss. We’ve met all these beauties on our various walks and we love it! We know a lot of walks that start from our door step so we explore the greater Mill Brow area a lot. We go to Lyme Park a lot too, usually getting a take away hot chocolate half way round. We obviously get the luxury one with whipped cream and marshmallows!

A new place we explored very recently was Shining Tor, not too far from my Mum’s old house. There had been reports of a Snow bunting which is very uncommon in these parts. We headed up the huge hill in extremely windy and misty conditions and right at the top, we saw it. He was absolutely gorgeous, bobbing about without a care in the world. I don’t normally twitch birds because I don’t like the thought of 10’s of people surrounding a bird who is probably exhausted and out of its way. But, this snow bunting had no crowd and so we enjoyed it for a brief few minutes before leaving him to munch away. The weather up there was a treat in itself, the wind was so strong it was tricky to stay upright. The clouds formed a thick layer that seemed to be covering the top half of the world. Almost like a blind that had been pulled half way down our view. It was amazing!

Being out and about at this time of year there’s lots of leaves on the ground and so I’m trying to identify the trees they came from if they look new to me. I saw some love heart shaped leaves the other day and discovered they are from Lime trees. I also figured out Field maple too. Although all the leaves are a bit slippy underfoot, I love seeing all the colours together. They look gorgeous and that’s why I love this time of year. Especially on crisp, sunny days with a bright blue sky.

On top of my walking I’ve done some bird ringing in the garden which is nice. In fact, the first bird I caught the other day was a nuthatch that i’d already ringed. A gorgeous male that I first encountered in May.

I’ve also been doing my turkish lessons and PhD work. I have an exam for Turkish early next year and have decided to step my learning up a bit so I can practice as much as possible.

I’m really missing rock climbing at the moment and can’t wait for December to arrive so me and Mol can start going again. I feel my strength that I’d been building up is dwindling by the day! EEK! I’m doing yoga every morning to try and help my flexibility which I hope will help when we finally go back. It’s also really nice to do for relaxing and getting any tension out. It’s probably something I will continue doing after lockdown ends.

These past weeks I’ve made some lovely new recipes for tea too. Including a sweet potato one pot dish and a courgette and asparagus tart. I’ve basically turned Mum and Mol veggie now and so we’re trying new recipes to keep everything exciting. Nigella, eat your heart out! hehe

That’s it for now really.

Stay safe and happy!

xx

Walking through lockdown

Since my last post I have been quite busy with lots of lovely things. Birding, climbing, working and walking as per usual. I actually had a lovely bird ringing session with Jake and Ingrid, setting up nets on the edge of a flooded field to try and catch Snipe, Teal or Lapwing. We arrived really early so it was pitch black and the birds wouldn’t be too spooked. This meant we got to use Ingrid’s night vision binoculars to assess what was about. Through the device we could see lots of glowing white birds, these were canada geese they were there to rest for the night. We waited for a while and had a brew to warm up. The sun slowly began to rise and things became brighter. All of a sudden the birds began moving as they were waking up from their slumbers. This led to us catching two Snipe and two Lapwing. We ran to the nets so fast, we were all very excited! Snipe are utterly lovely up close. They have long delicate beaks and gorgeous big eyes. They were both so calm and lovely to handle. The lapwings were just super to see! After all the biometrics were taken and the birds were released we celebrated with some tasty cookies that Ingrid has made. The early start was well worth it!

After the lovely morning of bird ringing I went home, got myself ready and headed into Manchester with Mol. We decided we’d have a night away as our holiday for 2020. Neither of us have been anywhere this year and we wanted one night of relaxation and loveliness. We’d booked to stay at the Midland hotel so we could go and eat lovely food and do some Christmas shopping. It was such a nice couple of days. When we arrived we went down Canal Street to find the Divina DeCampo painting as she’s one of our favourite drag queens! We didn’t even care that it was raining! We ate some amazing pancakes for lunch and then did a bit of shopping which was great. After drinking some wine in our room we headed out for a delicious evening meal at Cottonopolis in the Northern Quarter. They do Japanese tapas dishes and they were incredible. So so tasty! Although I have to say, we tried a couple of their cocktails and they were a bit much for us! haha Think we’ll stick to our espresso martinis and long island ice tea in the future! It was so nice to get away with Mol and have a girly, sister day to ourselves.

We’ve been rock climbing a few times which has been brilliant. We’re both definitely seeing an improvement and I feel more muscley and fit than I have in a long time! woo! I might be small, but I’m a strong bean!

On Saturday it was Halloween so we carved pumpkins to make sure we were protected from any spooky spirits! I love Halloween and the traditions behind it. I was working at the bar that night which was nice. There was a bit of gloom cast over the shift though because Boris Johnson announced the second lockdown that would be starting in the next few days. COVID seems to be everywhere now and so the only thing that can be done is to shut everything down again. I’m gutted I won’t be able to work, it has been so lovely to get out of the house and chat with different people. I actually thought I’d handled the news quite well but the next day I had a bit of a melt down about it all. Mol gave me a big hug and calmed me down. Sometimes things just pile up and a good cry clears your head! Me and Mum have decided that every day of the lockdown we are going to go on a walk, come rain or shine. This way we get out of the house, can enjoy nature and most importantly, we can smile. The walks have been lovely so far. We’ve made friends with some calves and splashed around in puddles. The rain has been pretty torrential lately so footpaths are now streams!

That’s all really. This next few weeks are going to be strange but I need to keep smiling and enjoying the simple things. And if not, I can always drink a load of mulled wine!

Stay safe

xx

It’s October already!

This week has been quite chilly and yesterday the heavens opened and it rained constantly for the entire day! The air is certainly feeling more autumnal, which for me is quite exciting as it’s my favourite season! When I was little this time of year was so exciting. We’d always throw Halloween parties for mine and Molly’s friends, I remember finding all the decorations in the garage and putting everything up. It was a big thing in our house growing up. And then shortly after Halloween we’d have bonfire night which is just magical, huge fires, roasting marshmallows and dazzling fireworks. So I think the leaves changing colour, conkers on the floor and cold crisp days tell my spirit that a lovely time of year is coming. Plus, I have a slight jumper obsession so its the time of year when I can start my serious layering! 😀

Since my last post I have been quite busy with various things. As usual I have been rock climbing which I truly love. It takes my mind off of everything else and I just focus on the route ahead. It’s challenging both mentally and physically which I think suits me! I’ve had a painful knee which has stopped me going as much as I’d like, but I took the advice of my cousin Ste and loaded on ibuprofen which seems to have helped!

I’ve been bird ringing this week which was lovely. We caught over 100 birds which was great! I actually had my first try doing the whoosh net. Normally we use a mist net, which is a long vertical net that spans several meters. The whoosh net is different, it uses bungee cord tension to catapult the net forwards and over ground feeding birds. We use this for larger species such as Carrion crows, Magpies, Jay and Wood pigeon. I sat in the hide for an hour and waited for any crows to come down. It was a slightly dramatic ending, I pulled the cable with all my might to release the bungee, ended up punching myself in the face and the bird escaped! haha At least I tried eh?! Next time will be better I’m sure!

There’s been some other lovely things this week. I harvested my first ever carrots!! They were very short but smelt amazing, so I’m really chuffed. I also went for drinks with my friend Beth and had a lovely cocktail decorated with flowers, I felt like a blummin princess!

I’ve been doing work as well as my hobbies. In fact, one of my papers has been accepted for publication which is really exciting. I’ve also been working at the bar too, which is a nice change of pace in my week.

I have started to try and think of lovely things for each day, sort of like a gratitude journal. I find it helps me focus on nice things in my week. Yesterday the thing that made me smile was a sunflower finally bursting into colour in the garden. It chose the most miserable day to do it, but seeing it opened up was lovely and put a smile on my face. Another thing that has made me smile was seeing red leaves on the trees. Those colours are just magical to me! I am going to continue looking for all the lovely things in my life because it’s a nice way to be thinking.

That’s all for now!

xx

Back at it!

Well, here I am again. I took a massive break from writing blog entries. I can’t really put my finger on why I stopped exactly. At the beginning of the year my head was all over the place and I guess I just didn’t feel like it. And then COVID-19 hit and life went strange and a bit monotonous! Recently I’ve been thinking about starting to write again as I used to really enjoy it and it made me reflect on lovely things I had done every week, which must be good for my mind set! 😀

So what have I been up to?

During the early lockdown days of COVID when rules were strict and the roads were bare, I enjoyed walks with Mum and Mol. We were so lucky with the weather in March/ April and so we would walk everyday and enjoy seeing the flowers beginning to bloom and the birds singing. This year I’ve really appreciated the subtle changes in nature which has been refreshing. I now know the time scale of when different flowers appear and I even learnt to ID them. I remember one afternoon where I cracked the difference between meadow buttercup and creeping buttercup, I felt geeky and great! Nature has been really helpful during this crazy pandemic time, everything sometimes feels overwhelming and daunting but stepping outside and getting fresh air really helps.

As well as nature based stuff we’d do weekly family quizzes on zoom which was a lovely way to see the family. Me and Mol would also Skype Dad and Grandpa for a catch up because we couldn’t go and visit. Now lockdown restrictions have eased, it is so lovely to be able to see people and enjoy different company. Every day felt like ground-hog day but now little changes to daily life are welcome and lovely. I must admit, I think I gained an even worse houseplant obsession and my green family has exploded! I’ve heard talking to plants helps them grow so that’s my excuse for acting crazy!! Hehe

I am still bird ringing when I get the chance which I thoroughly enjoy. Ingrid always brings cake which is a treat and its nice to be with like minded people, to appreciate nature and just have a good old chit chat. In addition to my bird ringing hobby, me and Mol have started rock climbing. I used to do it in Poland, but since leaving I haven’t done any. I absolutely love doing it. We go a few times a week and do bouldering, we are waiting to pass our rope climbing course so we can be let loose on the walls. I have been practicing an overhang bouldering route and every session I get a little bit further and a little but more confident with the technique. It gives me such a buzz! We were able to go on an outdoor climbing trip one evening. We were a little apprehensive about it, but we enjoyed it so much, I think we both prefer the outdoors! We went to Lawrencefield quarry in the peak district, a gorgeous setting, almost fairy tale like. The people who went were lovely and really supportive. I think that’s what I like most about climbing actually, everyone we have met so far have been so nice and helpful.

I’ve also been doing my Turkish lessons which has been great. Another lovely distraction from the crazy COVID world. Unfortunately this year I haven’t been able to go to Cyprus, I don’t think I’ll be going this year at all. I guess next time I go my turkish will be better and I can have nice chats with the locals! 😀

I’ve been writing my thesis and sorting out various papers I would like to publish for my PhD. It is getting closer to the end point now and so I am constantly looking for jobs to make the next step in my career. I have completed a teaching english as a foreign language course during lockdown to give me another skill. So who knows what I will do in the future. I just hope something falls my way.

In the mean time I have started a bar job which I was so nervous about, but it is actually really nice. I had this weird fear about carrying the trays full of drinks but I feel like I’m fine now, balance is key!! I’m slowly getting more confident in the role and am just glad it is something I can be doing to get me out of the house and doing something a bit different. I’ve also made a few different cocktails now which I am sure will come in handy in the future. If anyone fancies a long island ice tea, I’m your girl!

Well, I think that’s it for now. England is going into more lockdown measures and so life doesn’t look like it will be getting normal anytime soon. But I have my rabbits and cats to cuddle and my lovely family to be with! Not bad at all!

xx

Edinburgh and Newcastle

I’ve not written in what feels like ages. It’s been so busy over Christmas and new year and I’ve really just wanted to enjoy being home with my lovey little family. Christmas was cosy and this New Years Eve I just decided to watch telly with Mol and get an early night. A lovely addition to the festivities was my cousin getting married, it was small and gorgeous and got to spend another day with all my family.

2020 so far has been nice and normal. Doing bits of work and plodding on with the day to day.

To mix things up a bit I decided to book a trip up to Edinburgh to see my friend Stacey. I’ve never been to Scotland and so it was pretty exciting for me! I should travel more of the U.K. really. Anyway, I went up to Edinburgh on Wednesday, and after a cancelled train and a bit of faff, I managed to give my friend a hug after nearly two years!!!! She lives in a van which felt even more like an adventure. We headed out to park up in the Pentlands, chatted and slept! The next day we did a bit of exploring Edinburgh to see some famous sites! Unfortunately I’ve got a cold so my entire trip I felt a bit yucky, but we made the most of it! We ate lovely pancakes and I felt constantly amazed at ALL the Scottish people in Scotland….. probably one of the more silly things I’ve ever thought or said out loud!! The second day was much the same, exploring more of the gorgeous city. We wandered up to the castle and just enjoyed each other’s company. Lovely!!

Friday evening I left the extremely chilly Edinburgh for a slightly milder Newcastle. I’ve been meaning to visit Newcastle for ages as my Nana bloody loves it!! I have a lovely excuse to visit now as my little cousin is at uni there. I arrived and met Katy and after dumping my stuff we went for some tea at a lovely Italian place! Her friend Izzy met us too which was nice, most of the chat was about cats. I think I’m officially a crazy cat lady!!! The next day we wandered into the city for brunch and looked at the sites. We saw the bridges over the river Tyne, spotted the castle and I just enjoyed seeing new places for the first time! I also managed to meet one of my northern friends too which was lovely! It was a happy and chilled day! Today me and Katy went back into the centre and managed to get a spot in the cat cafe for lunch. Best place I’ve ever been I think?! We got to chat with all the cats (I was actually the only person talking to the cats, no one else did?!?!) and had a brew and a toastie. Not bad eh?! We then went for a drink at this cool place made from loads of shipping containers and enjoyed some live music. Chilled again!

I’ve had a really lovely time on my whirlwind trip. So lovely to step out of the norm for a bit!! Now I’m on the train home and back to it tomorrow!

Not a bad 2020 so far!!

Xx

It’s been a while!

Oooops. I’ve not been the best at writing this blog lately. This is the first time I’ve written in 3 weeks. But to be honest, I’ve been busy with life and doing lovely things with lovely people!

I am now back in the U.K. for the Christmas break. I’ll actually be back for a while now which is nice. I don’t usually spend long at home so I’m always rushing and can’t properly enjoy it.

It’s been a few weeks of mixed emotions. Leyla, one of the kittens, became really sick and died. Poor little thing. Luckily the other cats are healthy and seem to be doing fine. So 6 lovely ones left.

Me and Doğukan went to Karpaz for a road trip one day. It was a really stormy day and so we couldn’t even paddle in the sea. But it was quite nice to drive in the thunder and see it travelling across the mountains. We visited a small beach on the way back and explored an old Greek church nearby which was cute! It’s nice to imagine the old times and what they must have been like.

It was Doğu’s birthday and we had a lovely day with his family! A few nights before we went out with our friends, Hannah and Ash, too. The family meetings are always so busy and crazy and I am constantly trying to understand all the Turkish! All of his aunties were over which was a first, usually there are one or two missing. They are all so lovely and it’s nice to chat with them. Even if it is very broken Turkish and English!

My last week in Cyprus my Mum and Beth came over which was lovely. I stayed with Doğu but we had nice times with them. One afternoon me Mum and Doğu went up St Hilarion castle. It’s the only castle I have visited in Northern Cyprus so I was really chuffed. The views were amazing and it was so silent up there. It must have been such a huge castle back when it was lived in. There were three levels with the lowest one being for soldiers. There were royal apartments with amazing views and various kitchen areas. We liked seeing all the plants that had started to take over again. Fun fact actually, St Hilarion is where Richard the Lionheart had his honeymoon and is the inspiration behind the castle in Disney’s Snow White. We loved the little adventure!!

The day after, Mum and Beth came over to me and Doğu for a wander along the beach and some tasty gözleme! Mum loved meeting the lady that makes the gözleme. She couldn’t wait to take a photo of her!

It was bittersweet when I left Cyprus. I was so excited to get home and see all my lovely family. But at the same time, I didn’t want to leave Doğukan and all our lovely cats. Being home has been lovely so far though. I’ve seen my gorgeous family and had loads of cuddles which is always the best! I’m really not getting used to the cold weather though. I know I’m complaining too much about it!

I’m trying to relax into being home and enjoying it. I always find it tricky to adjust when I get to a new place. Just for the first few days or so. I have a crazy time at home aswell because I’m in between my Mum and my Dads so I’m like a yo-yo! But it’s lovely anyway!

That’s all for now, a very quick update!

Xx

One poorly kitten

This week has been another lovely week in Cyprus filled with sunshine, smiles and sea views. There was a small hiccup in the middle of the week as the youngest kitten, Lucky, becoming really sick. One afternoon we noticed he was limping and then he became really tired. The next day he was the same and so we took him to a vets nearby as he wasn’t eating. Unfortunately this vet was pretty rubbish, she just gave him an injection of what we presume was antibiotics, didn’t check his temperature, didn’t check his foot that was sore, nothing…. She just told us to come back tomorrow. Later that night he got a lot worse and quickly went downhill. Dogu took him to an emergency vet and the vet said it was a 50% chance of whether he’d survive. He had a dangerously high temperature and his breathing was bad. They kept him in all night and gave him lots of fluids and started him on a shock treatment of antibiotics. Luckily he pulled through. We have had to go back to the vets each evening for more antibiotic injections but he is returning to his normal self! phew!!!

Apart from the cat drama, the week has been lovely.

We have enjoyed a few wanders into the countryside. It has actually been lovely to do this in the evening because some different birds are around since the last time I was here. There are lots of singing Robins defending their territories. Stonechats are everywhere now, sitting on their thin perches. I even heard a Black redstart a couple of days ago. They have a weird and wonderful song!

We have done some more olive picking this week and finally finished the trees in the garden. Its not easy work! I now fully appreciate olive oil! The time it takes to pick all the olives in a way that doesn’t damage the trees is so long! After we pick them the family sort out which olives will be used for oil and which for eating. The oil ones are taken to an olive press and the lovely elixir is made! The olives for eating are bashed with a stone, soaked in salty water for days, and then are ready! Dogu mixed his olives with garlic and oregano and olive oil and they are just so lovely! So much so that I actually got a saw tongue from eating so many!!!!

We have been busy in the garden his week. October in turkish is called Ekim and it is related to the word Ekmek which means to sow. We have been planting broad beans which was fun! We are also watching eagerly for the other crops to grow. So far there are carrots, garlic, parsley, artichoke, spinach, kale and sweet potatoes growing! We picked a lot of loofahs this week. A natural, organic alternative to plastic sponges! We have so many!

Other things we have done this week are eat Gozleme (a thin bread type thing filled with cheese or whatever you fancy!). The lady that makes them is so lovely, she always gives us extra treats! She was impressed with my turkish grammar which was nice to hear! We also went to a bazaar yesterday that our friend Deniz helped host. It was full of little stalls which handmade trinkets. One stall was full of homemade crystal bead bracelets and I was sold! A new sunstone bracelet is now in my possession!

Other than that, we’ve enjoyed seeing friends, eating good food and watching amazing storms!

Nice!

xx

Olive picking

Another week has gone by and I’m yet again in another country!! On Tuesday I flew to Cyprus and have loved every minute so far! I got to cuddle my lovely Doğukan and have lots of love from all of our cats! How can that be bad?!

I’ve seen lots of other people this week too. I met Doğu’s friend Orçun for the first time. He was so lovely!! And I’ve also seen our friend Mert which was great. We were talking about different Christmas traditions which made me all excited! I’ve brought some Christmassy things over with me to show everyone!!

We’ve just been enjoying being back to normal really, and chilling out at home. This weekend a lot of Doğukan’s family came over to help us pick olives from the trees. It’s so funny when they all arrive, they are all chatting away and then trying to chat to me, but I can’t understand everything so I just nod along!! When they come they always bring amazing food though, so it’s brill!! In total be picked around 200kg of olives on Saturday and we still have more to go. Today has been hard to collect them because a storm came in and made it really windy!! I’m so excited to taste some of the olive oil once it’s done!

Last night we went to see our friends Ash and Hannah which was so lovely! It was just great to catch up and enjoy nice stories. It was also nice to have some wine too!!

So that’s the week really, mainly olives and friends. What more could a girl want?!

Xx

Lots of smiles

I’ve been in England this week, which has been lovely. I absolutely love being with my family, and it’s made even more special considering I’m always away.

I went on a lovely country walk with Mum and Beth this week. It was a sunny day which made a nice change, and my cheeks felt lovely and warm in the autumn sunshine. We saw some handsome highland cattle up close which was great. They were kept behind a gate though which was good, they have bloody massive horns!! We also saw the deer which was exciting. They have started the rutting season and so the males were busy defending their hareems. I love hearing them roar and watching the dynamics!

Apart from that the week has been fairly chilled out. I’ve just loved having cosy evenings! For some reason when I’m at my Dads house, a competition breaks out involving a balled up napkin and a vase. It’s a throwing competition between Dad and Grandpa, and it’s so funny to watch! They get so competitive!

Yesterday, me and Molly went to an old teachers house. Mol is doing her teacher training and so we went for a chat and a brew! Oh, and we got a slice of chocolate cake!! It was so so lovely to see her, after 12 years!!

I’ve only got a couple of sleeps until Cyprus so I’m just going to make the most of being with my family and getting cuddles. I’m so excited to head back there and see Doğukan and all our lovely cats!!

Until next time.

Xx

A Poznan visit

This week I have been in Poznan. I had to come for a couple of discussions that I have to do for my PhD. The first one was on ethics and the next one will be on ecology. I passed the first one which is good, so let’s hope all goes well for the second!

It’s been nice seeing my colleagues and staying with my lovely Polish family. Kasia is just so nice and always makes me feel so welcome! I’ve been staying with them in their countryside house this week which has been lovely.

The week has been pretty standard, going to the office and then home again. On one of the days I had to go for a work place health check. It wasn’t the best experience to be honest. I had to stand in a room that was so bloody hot, and wait for about 1 and a half hours to be seen. There were no seats because there were far too many people crammed in the waiting room… anyway, my bloody pressure, heart rate and vision are all fine. Good to know I guess!

This weekend has been nice. Yesterday some of Kasia’s friends came over and we all went on a forest walk to collect some mushrooms. It’s the season for them right now and so there are loads of different kinds! One type looks like a coral!! It was gorgeous to be outside in the fresh air, and the weather was bright sunshine and warm. Made me very smiley!! Later on in the day we went to visit some other friends that I knew when I lived in Poland. They had a baby last year and are expecting again in December! It was so nice to meet Staszek the titchy one. He took a shine to me actually, so I was worn out by the end of the visit after all the entertainment. We drank some homemade spirit made from quince and ate cake! A lovely Saturday evening really.

As well as the people based stuff, I’ve also held a small tarantula and a gorgeous gecko!! I don’t think I’ll rush back to holding a tarantula any time soon!!

That’s all for now!!

Xx