The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Monday 27 December 2010

I’m Dreaming Of A…

Christmas Day

Christmas Day was the most perfect crisp, blue-skied day you could possibly ask for, made all the prettier by the snow still lying crisp and even. On any other day I would have been off out to do my ‘shuffle around the block’ route with a camera. But, abandoning Mick to do all of the cooking and abandoning the guests to amuse themselves would have been rude, so the furthest I ventured all day was to the dustbin (a fruitless journey as the lid was found to be frozen solid to the body).

A bit of kit-fondling did feature in the day, as Santa had been extra-ordinarily generous:


Sampling my Exped Synmat, whilst wearing my (enormous) PHD down trousers, and reading ‘Tramping in New Zealand’. The former two items will hopefully fill all gaps in my ‘warm in winter’ backpacking kit.

Boxing Day

Boxing Day saw us venture slightly further afield. Having sorted through my extensive collection of footwear to find a pair that fitted Ma-in-Law, a very short stroll was had on Cannock Chase, before we repaired to Spingslade Lodge tearoom to warm up in front of the roaring wood-burner.

Very pretty it all was too:


and the clarity of the day meant that you could see almost forever. Unfortunately, that foreverness wasn’t quite so obvious on the snaps that I took, so these piccies of Ma-in-Law and Mick will have to suffice.

Ma-in-Law did well, considering that she’s never worn a pair of walking boots before in the entire 85 years of her life!


For weeks the weather has been sub-zero and often glorious. Finally today I had the chance to go out for a stroll, and woke up to rain. Harrumph!

I postponed and postponed* until I could postpone no more if I was going to get out and back in daylight.

Down to the canal was my plan, to see what state of snowy frozen-ness remained, before meeting up with Mick & Ma-in-Law at the marina, before walking back home. Not the most exciting outing that can be had in the immediate area, but a good stretch of the legs all the same.

As it turned out there was a bit of excitement. I’d just snapped this photo of one of the ponds:

IMG_1993 when I glanced back the way I’d just come just to see a woman fall through the ice into the pond. A few seconds later two of her companions (she was in a group of six who I’d seen a few minutes before) ran onto the ice straight to where she’d fallen through as I waited for what seemed likely: all three of them to end up in the icy water. By good fortune, their hasty lack of thought didn’t end in disaster as the ice held and within seconds they were sprawled appropriately. Within a minute they had the woman out. I considered whether there was any assistance that I could lend, but concluded that between the six of them there was little that I could add, so on I continued, past the ponds and down to the canal:

IMG_1997Frozen rain was stinging my face as I arrived at the (absolutely heaving) pub to meet Mick & Ma-in-Law, and rather wetter rain was falling as I left an hour later. A different route was taken to get home, passing a couple more snowy ponds, before getting back into the village where a polar bear had taken up residence on one of the lawns (pity I didn’t take a close-up photo, as it was rather a good snow-bear):


(*indulging in a little on-line shopping, choosing and buying ice axes and crampons, filled a few hours nicely)


  1. I see you've gained some weight over Christmas ;-) That's the problem with women : it starts around the hips.


  2. Its ordering ice axes and crampons that gets the thaw underway, no surer method is known in my experience!

  3. Theo - Tee hee!! I'd like to claim that the hips are entirely due to the padding of the trousers ... but actually the padded trousers are just hiding the fat stores I've been accumulating ready for the next Big Walk!

    Al - True! But, every year there comes a point when we want to go and climb some hills and then realise that we can't because we're not properly equipped. Then we do nothing about it and, by and by, the same happens again. This time I took the bull by the horns (using the VAT increase as my impetus). Now we'll be going out of our way to find hills with snow on them!

  4. Looks beautiful. By the way, did you know about this?

  5. Hi Karen! I hadn't seen that page about Cannock Chase. Doesn't bear thinking about if that forestry was to be sold off and access lost.

    Will you be crossing The Chase on your LEJOG?