Making plans!

Making my hiking plans for the summer holidays, folks!

Hi there, all you hikers, ramblers, amblers and speed-walkers. Remember me? Taken in the Derbyshire Hills, 2016  (©R.Grashoff) I...

Monday, 27 February 2017

Hikers Rule #1: Wear the Right Shoes! - England/Scotland with my son (3)

The original post was published on 26 juni 2013 om 18:40


There are hikers, and there are hikers. You can recognise the real ones by their sturdy boots. And that's where we went wrong. We were wearing the wrong shoes...

Our gracious hostess Paula took a good look at our flimsy shoes and pronounced them totally unfit for hiking in The Lake District. So sorry!
But we are stubborn people (us Dutchies usually are), and asked her if there really wasn't any route we could try? Perhaps one for foolish Dutchmen?

Well, we could always take the bus to Keswick, which is a charming little town, and perhaps we could walk for a bit along Derwent Water, if it wasn't too muddy, that is.
We took Paula's advice, and sat on top of a steamy bus, awed by the landscape we passed through. We saw numerous sheep, and countless daffodils. As we passed Dove Cottage, I thought about William Wordsworth's line: ' A host of golden daffodils'. I had tried to convey the beauty of his poem to my pupils last year, and now I was living it!

Keswick was lovely indeed, and the rain stopped, which was great. We took a public footpath along the edge of Derwent Water, but Paula knew her stuff: it proved to be too muddy for our shoes. Walking back amongst frolicking lambs and indifferent sheep, we decided to walk along the road to the next village, but after an hour saw another footpath leading away from Grasmere Lake, up to the hills. Surely that wouldn't be so muddy? Encouraged by the sunshine, and not at all hindered by the fact that we didn't have a map, we took off. Public footpath, how hard could it be?

Pretty soon we had to look carefully where to put our feet, and we had to cross burns by balancing from one stepping stone to the next. The wind, already blowing quite hard, picked up. On the ridge between Grasmere Lake and Rydal Lake, Wibe wanted to go up even higher, to the top, to take a panorama photo of the eight peaks around us. I take my latent vertigo very seriously, so I declined. Very undignified to be up there and not dare to come down..So I sat on a wooden seat, put down especially for scaredy cats like me. 'In Loving Memory of William Soye Backhouse 1891-1953'. 'Here's to you, Bill,' I mumbled. 'Hope you didn't take a tumble here.'

The wind picked up even more, and I started to get worried about Wibe. Gosh, this hill was steep, hopefully he wouldn't slip whilst taking photos. In my mind's eye I saw the rescue helicopter approach, fool that I was, in my inappropriate shoes!
Just as I was ready to start climbing to his rescue, an ancient woman passed me, with a walking stick and one of those small typically English dogs. 'Hello, lovely view, isn't it?' A couple of minutes later woman number two passed, this time with an umbrella and a slightly larger dog. I peeked at her boots. Yes. Very sturdy.  'Lovely day, isn't it?' And then woman number three. She had a man with her, and special nylon waterproofs above her hiking boots. She didn't greet me, but her man did. 'Sunny enough for you?'. He looked furtively at my shoes.
Thankfully Wibe came down the mountain just then, safe and sound! We descended to Rydal Lake and loved it. It took us another hour of hiking along pebbled beaches and dirt tracks strewn with sheep droppings to reach the first pub, The Badger, where we had cold pints of Magners cider and I admired those super-fit English old folks who ran about these hills.

We took a bus to Ambleside, where we had an Italian meal and then walked back to Windermere, which took us another hour. What a wonderful day! And all this in the wrong shoes!
Experience Rydal yourself in this charming little video by Eric Worsely (who was wearing the correct footwear).
A walk around Rydal Lake

Sunday, 26 February 2017

This, That and The Other about Weight.

Good afternoon, friendly readers,


Still too early for tulips in the garden! But the shops stock them in all colours and shapes.
My dwarf narcissus is in bloom in the front garden though, it's always the first, I adore it.

This is taking stock.
Remember I told you  8 weeks ago I would like to lose some weight? Preferably 10 kilos or so? Well, so far - nothing doing. It is really frustrating, as I do not eat great quantities (compared to some of my female colleagues I eat little), do not drink soft drinks, hardly ever indulge in sweeties or cakes and have cut down on my alcohol intake.

The trouble is, I do not believe in diets. All around me I see women my age (but also twenty years younger) struggling to lose their flab, and I have seen them going on every diet imaginable, with no LASTING result. Sure, they lose kilos initially, some of them staggering amounts (40 kilos?! Wow, respect! Except that it was back with a vengeance within 6 months after stopping the diet).

I come from an age where being slim was normal. When I look at the old faded photos from my youth (sixties, seventies, eighties) everyone was so slim compared to everyone today! But when I think back, we drank gallons of tea and the occasional beer, and that was it. Snacks consisted of 1 soup bowl of potatoes chips or a handful of peel it yourself peanuts on a Saturday evening, and that was it.
Fast food was chips from the chippy with mayonaise (it's a Dutch thing) and a kroket, and that was it. Going to an Italian, Chinese or Greek restaurant was the height of sophistication in my region, and that was it.

But then, slowly, starting in the mid-eighties, food changed and with it the food fads. All of a sudden everyone started buying soft drinks, and eating a pre-dinner snack called toostjes (small bite-sized toast with French cheese, sausages et such), and it became fashionable to buy lunch out instead of bringing your own cheese sandwiches. Having more money meant eating more and more meat and less veg.
People started gaining weight. So the food industry came with 'light' products in the nineties, and la-di-dah, everyone gained even more weight.


Then all kinds of food myths started doing the rounds. Eat only fruit in the morning, eat porridge, eat raw food, eat power food, avoid bananas, do-not-eat carbons, eat this, eat that.
Result? None what so ever; clever diet gurus made a fortune and people kept on gaining weight steadily. I see it in my daughter. She weighs 12 kilos more than I did at her age, and she can be considered a 'normal' eater.

The latest food instruction from our national health watch organization is to not eat 5 portions of fruit and veg a day (we were supposed to do this), but up it to 10.
So first we have been turned into a society of gluttons, and now they are urging us to turn into goats.

I actually like vegetables, so I suppose I am lucky. But I know plenty of people (mostly bearded men) already struggling with the number 5. Who consider a huge steak with 5 green peas the perfect meal.

My solution? I don't have one. Sorry. Except...yesterday I saw someone on TV with proof that using a smaller plate actually makes a person eat less.
I'll try to eat my 10 plant forms a day, rainbow coloured, from a tea saucer. Will keep the pastas/rice to a minimum. And I'll keep indulging in the occasional beer or whisky (hey! comes from grains, yay!). Life is for living!
But I have booked my bicycle into the shop for a facelift and tune-up, ready to start cycling to work again. And I try to take a brisk walk every day. The gardening season starts soon; more bodily activity. I do the occasional dance around the room or in the local hard-rock cave. 
And I look wistfully at the Spring Collection I do not fit into.

So have a nice Sunday, won't you? Have a nice cucumber on me!