This post – number 156 – marks the third anniversary of this blog, and since most of those early posts covered lots of walking, it seems only right that I should carry on rambling.
After last week’s 20k walk I have been FAR more sensible and followed the training plan that’s plotted out neatly on my calendar: 5k on Tuesday evening and two lots of 5 over the weekend (although that turned into an 8 and a 4, but never mind). I’ve said it before and I will almost certainly say it again, but getting out and walking reminds me that I’m very lucky to live in an area with lots of space to ramble and lots of wildlife to admire.
Tuesday evening’s walk took me across North Weald Common, over the fields behind the house and down a country lane. The sun was just setting and the moon was rising, the wildlife was on the move and after a busy day dashing around with work it was a moment of peace.
It also turned out to be the last fine weather for a couple of days, as Wednesday to Friday were drizzly and miserable with snow showers, sleet, rain and wind at this end of the world. Storm Larissa brought lots of snow to other parts of the UK but we just got the dregs which felt very unfair.
Not to be thwarted, however, when the sun came out on Saturday I dragged my beloved and Thing 3 off for a walk to make the most of it. We covered an 8km loop which took us through the woods in the ancient Ongar Great Park where we heard a nuthatch and great tits shouting their heads off, round Tawney Common and back up through the wood on a lollipop route. We saw buzzards, many rooks and crows and spotted signs of spring.
Saturday also included a cold water swim, which at 5 degrees felt icy. The cold snap meant that the pipes had frozen in the cafe and I’d forgotten the flask, so a quick trip to McDonald’s for breakfast was in order afterwards. The lake ducks, who also rely on the cafe for their breakfast, were most aggrieved.
The final walk this morning was a 4km with Sue, one of my swimming buddies, and the adorable Bella-dog and was around Ambresbury Banks just past Epping. We had a good ramble round the banks and along some of the wide tracks in that part of Epping Forest – there’s the remains of the Outer London Defence Ring in the area, lots of puddles for Bella to paddle in (including one rather deeper than she expected!) and lots of interesting leaves and sticks to chase (Bella again).
Other things making me happy this week
Hanging out with teachers – both serving and trainees
On Tuesday afternoon one of my colleagues and I headed off to Central Foundation Girls School in Mile End to meet the Tower Hamlets Secondary Design and Technology Network, who we’d been trying to get in touch with for several years but (thanks to GDPR) have proved elusive. We took along a few items from the handling collection and talked to them about the new museum but most of all we listened to what they wanted from us in terms of curriculum support and school visits.
On Thursday I visited the London East Teacher Training Alliance, who I have been doing sessions with for more than a decade and who are some of my favourite people to work with. I love ITT students as they’re all still so enthusiastic, and the early years students in particular who are all about the play. We did the Think Small session to start with, designing and building animal homes, and then two of our Creative Learning Facilitators joined the session to share the learning they’d gained from using the Hero Arm to talk about limb difference to very young children. We finished up with a fingerprint activity inspired by the whorls created when 3D printing the Hero Arm: thinking about individuality and what makes us all special.
Two pairs finished this week! The first ones are the Calecentine Socks by Vicki Brown Design and CoopKnits. I used Stylecraft Head over Heels Allstars sock yarn in Saltaire, and the tail end of a ball of Drops Nord for the ‘windows’. I like Vicki Brown’s socks as the patterns are straightforward, unlike the Dragon Scale socks on the right.
The sizing on these was ridiculous – even with a hook 3 sizes up than that recommended they came up too small and too narrow and had to be frogged and redone. The yarn is the one used in the pattern (Cygnet Boho Spirit), so I can only assume the S/M/L size range in the pattern is for very small people!
Kumihomo: Japanese Silk Braiding exhibition
As I had a rare afternoon without meetings I took myself off to Japan House in High Street Kensington to see this exhibition. It’s quite small but very lovely, and while I knew what kumihomo was I didn’t know about all the applications or how it’s being used today.
I had a great conversation with a woman who was fascinated by the stitching and construction of a Victorian dolman garment, and watched some very soothing videos of dyeing silk and weaving braids. Hopefully we’ll be able to explore this in the programming around the Japan: Myths to Manga exhibition at the museum later in the year.
They always make me happy, to be fair.
And now I have to do the ironing that I didn’t do last week….
What I’ve been reading:
Going Postal/Making Money – Terry Pratchett (Audible)
Changes/Ghost Story – Jim Butcher