Posts Tagged ‘Adventure’

Corona Chronicles Eight: GETTING LOST

I was reading The Guardian (30 March 2020, page 28), and was hit by the headline, “Mobiles mean children will no longer be free to get lost – Attenborough”. The article begins “Children will never again know true freedom because mobile phones mean they cannot get lost, David Attenborough has said.” Further on, he explains that this is something that those of us who are pre-mobile may have experienced, but is unlikely to be experienced by today’s teenagers,

In my most recent experience of being lost, I had a mobile with a map, but no compass. I was going to a conference in London and full of false confidence, I had booked an Uber Taxi. I departed the station and looked for a road sign, but could see none. I wondered around. On the map I could see a ‘blob’ moving, but I couldn’t work out where I was and I couldn’t orientate the map as the sun was obscured. I could feel a panic rising and decided to get a coffee and ask for help. I ordered another taxi, this time confident …. only to see it disappearing into the distance, as I hobbled after it, trying to attract the driver’s attention. I felt tearful. I gave it one more try and this time was rescued. It was a sobering moment. I might be able to navigate across the world, through forests and in mountains, but in an alien environment, the city, I am lost.

Port Quin. The Headland from the window.

Recently, pre- isolation, I went with a friend to Port Quin on the north Cornish, and looked longingly as the sunset over the headland. The next night I commented that I thought I could walk as far as that, but that I might be slow. “We must leave now, to get there and have time to get back before the light goes completely.” She was bemused that I could be so direct. She is not an outdoor person and said that outdoor people develop an innate knowledge of being on and moving through the environment. How could I work out. by looking at a map and the landscape, the time required? How would I know about the time it would take for the sun to move below the horizon? How could I judge that we would have enough ‘night sight’ to return to the cottage? This amused me.

The Headland at sun sets

I am a Duke of Edinburgh Award expedition assessor, working mainly in the New Forest. I think it is this innate way of being in the outdoors that we are encouraging, along with many other things. I am always heartened when young people get lost and manage to sort out their position and put themselves back on the right track. I am also surprised at the numbers of adults I meet who seek reassurance from me, that they are on the right track, when faced with being a few metres from a carpark. Let’s hope that post-lockdown we will again be able to access the outdoors and have the valuable experience of getting lost and then finding ourselves …. and congratulate others when they experience the joy of this simple event.

The DofE group is ready to move off!

Corona Chronicles Seven: ADJUSTING

The last few days have been days of memories and reflecting on these memories as the First picture shows. In this post’s photo, I was on Braeriach in the Cairngorms . It would have been in the 1070s, probably at Easter, What adventures and what friendships!

I didn’t manage to get anything written yesterday. I had a day of adjusting! It was much like any other Saturday with shopping, joining a friend for coffee, time spent down by the sea – except I didn’t do any of these things. Shopping is only for essentials, meeting with friends doesn’t come under the social distancing and the sea front and the car parks have been closed except to the physically-able for exercise, so that counts me out at the moment. I did some laundry, but apart from that the time seemed to drift into eternity, which is the frightening thing. It would be so easy to lose track of timer and not accomplish many of the things on my to do list. I abandoned rowing yesterday and today, but will get back to it. I’ve pulled a muscle in my dodgy leg because of my enthusiasm, so I have had enough warnings that I must be more cautious. The best outcome yesterday, was making an orange drizzle cake. Baking is an escape, just as it was for my mother. I so wish i could make sponges and meringues as she did.

Orange Lake Cake (or Drizzle/ Downpou

Today has been another strange day. We’ve spoken to friends on the phone, eaten orange drizzle cake and I’ve cleaned the floors downstairs. This is always a bad sign. If the floor is visible does it really need to be cleaned? I didn’t think it was that bad but once the chore was completed, I knew it was. I treated myself to a gin and tonic. I managed to spray the tonic around the kitchen and the floor had a second wash. Fortunately there is enough of both gin and tonic for a few more days.

Dreams, memories and adventures on the shelves

The other thing I did, having read Robert Macfarlane’s Tweet about Jan Shepherd’s The Living Mountain, was to look at my book shelves and the memories and dreams stored in them. I may never climb a mountain or even a rock face again. I might never be able to ski again, I certainly will never go caving again, but I can get in to the mountains to take photographs, paint, write and just wonder and I can make plans for other adventures.

The Mums climbing up from Durdle Door

Corona Chronicles Three: REALITY BEGINS TO DAWN

Last night, it dawned on me. There are probably at least another twelve weeks to go. That is over 80 days. While I quite enjoyed the first two days of isolation, I am realising that there are plenty more of these to come. Talking with friends on Zoom and just on the phone helped. I miss not getting a hug, or reading the emotions in their faces. It’s also good to get letters and emails, because these can be read and re-read. It has even felt that I might be saying goodbye to some people, who are ill. I am definitely saying farewell to a way of life, as attitudes, travel freedoms and materialism are challenged. Having the internet has helped and thanks to TA Loeffler for the contacts about the Banff Mountain Centre Film Festival , with the list of films, and her encouragement at my rowing machine “expedition”. I have achieved some things, but I am really going to have work at keeping myself motivated. I have managed to complete some work tasks that I had been putting off and I now know I need to do a few more days of planning, so that I don’t slump in front of the TV. So ACTION.

Spring sun at Lee on Solent

After my negative start as the realities begin to set in, I have changed the title of this blog to Corona Light. On the internet I saw a photo of the corona around a Brocken spectre. Where have the photos gone of that amazing Brocken spectre in Torridon? so that is another task – sort out those boxes of colour slides.

I must stay positive. It is good hearing children outside laughing and giggling … and then being called back inside to continue their home schooling …. even better ….. oooh I can be so mean! Our next door neighbour has contacted us to say to get in touch if we need anything. Another friend has dropped in porridge as our supplies were getting low (plus wine and ginger nut biscuits).

The rowing has helped to lift my spirits and in my mind I am off the shore at Lee on Solent. I have learned that I must be careful as to what I listen to on the radio, so as not to dampen my spirits.

Spring sun at Lee on Solent

There’s another bonus with the sun. Its has heated up the kitchen, so that we don’t need to turn on the heating until the evening. Now that is a bonus.

Corona Chronicles Day One: I BEGIN

Celendine

I’m now thinking that it is time to stay indoors. It would be so easy to become a carrier of virus. I was thinking that I had prepared well. The store cupboard is restocked with enough to survive for one to two weeks. We could do with some eggs, fresh vegetables and fruit and bread flour and yeast, but we can mange without these. (We had run the store cupboard down when work was being done on the kitchen) However, I’m now realising that I haven’t thought about reading material . I am well stocked online and on my shelves with reading to support my more academic writing but it is the lighter reading materials that I am low on. I know I can read things online but this isn’t conducive to reading in the bath and in bed. I had left my watercolour brushes in India, so I’ve ordered some more online.

Sun

How am I viewing the weeks a head? A few weeks ago, my initial reaction had been of resentment that I was being targeted as an over 70. I was being stereotyped. That feeling is still simmering, under the surface, but for the well being of others I can understand the need to reduce face-to-face interactions. I’m planning on setting myself a timetables so that I don’t become more of a couch potato than I already am, and I can keep some track on the passing time.

I get “cabin fever” when I am stuck indoors for long periods. I feel claustrophobic, that I must get out. Often my mother and I would be walking along the beach in the early hours. However, I am appalled at the numbers of people flocking to the beaches or hills. Many rural areas are imploring people not to consider self-isolating there and putting a strain on stretched resources (BBC News), apart from not considering that they could also be spreading the virus, so I’m planning to stay fixed and try to row (on the machine) the equivalent of from Portsmouth to Penzance, as the crow flies. This might help me to reflect on an imaginary journey, in the same ways that I would have been reflecting on now cancelled trips to the Orkneys and Cornwall.

Rough Seas; Mounts Bay

My other major concern is that the two of us will fall out. We are used to the luxury of having our own space. we can still do this in the house, but it will still be a pressure. I’m hoping that having a plan and targets will help me, Wish me luck!.