The song of the paddle

One of the things that I don’t do enough of in my life is canoeing. Which is to say that I’ve been perhaps once or twice. Over twenty years ago. But I absolutely loved it and have been kicking myself ever since for not having done more. It has that rugged outdoorsy-ness to it that many sporting activities seem to lack. And, unlike kayaking, you don’t have to worry about whether your eskimo rolling skills are still up to scratch.

So it was with considerable enthusiasm that Natalie, Molly and I actually got our acts together sufficiently to take a short canoeing trip down part of the River Wye. It’s one of the best places in the country for canoeing and (I’m ashamed to admit) it’s only about an hour’s drive from my front door.

There was also a certain trepidation to the escapade, though, as while Natalie and I have both canoed before and know that we like it, nobody was quite sure about Molly. Do Labradors canoe? Or would we end up taking the shortest canoe trip ever, followed by an extended swim and a hefty damage bill?

Molly canoeing 1-2

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Autumn bliss

I knew it was going to be a nice morning as soon as I stepped outside, just before sunrise, and saw the planet Venus glimmering brightly in the heavens. And sure enough, as Molly and I set out for our morning walk, the sky was clear, the dew was shimmering and the Sun was radiating for all it was worth.

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Getting close to nature

We had a lovely sunny evening here the other day, so I put a long-ish lens on my camera and – together with Natalie and Molly – headed out for a pleasant after-work walk. We wandered down an old farm track that I quite frequently hurtle along as part of my trail runs. But at a slower pace and with a viewfinder to peer through, I was surprised by quite how much was going on. Continue reading

Offroading

I’m not much of a fan of running on the road. Sure, I can if I need to. And it’s much easier to run fast if you don’t need to worry about where you put your feet. But road running is, how shall I say – a little in the boring side. Each step is very much like the one before and the one after. Running off road, however, is much more my cup of tea. Because you never know what the hell is going to happen next. Continue reading

On the right path

One of the best things about living (albeit only temporarily) in Cornwall is the proximity of the South West Coast Path. A recognised national trail, it stretches a whopping 630 miles from Somerset around to Dorset. And it passes only a half mile or so from ‘my’ house. For someone who likes running off road, this is great. And for someone who likes running off road on hills, it’s pretty much heaven.

The coast path

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Molly and the Mendips

At the weekend, Natalie, Molly and I took a hike out to Crook Peak, perched on the end of the Mendip Hills in Somerset. Molly and I had been before, but this was Natalie’s first visit, so we were keen to have an enjoyable day out. And with some hills, a packed lunch and an overenthusiastic Labrador, who could possibly fail to enjoy themselves…?

Natalie and Molly Continue reading

Autumn

It’s the autumnal equinox tomorrow, that time of year when the night becomes longer than the day and winter starts to set in. And as Molly and I sauntered out of the house first thing this morning, it looked like the planet was trying to get a head start. The sky was still dark, the crescent moon glowed gently above the horizon and the brightest stars still shone through the early dawn. Continue reading

Parental gardening support 101

My mother has big plans for her garden. And these plans, perhaps inevitably, involve a fair amount of digging, heavy lifting and general gorilla work. Which, perhaps even more inevitably, is where I come in. And so we found ourselves spending a tiring – but ultimately rather enjoyable – weekend tearing up a small portion of Somerset. Continue reading