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Since we're off to the Lake District tomorrow (hurray!) we've made the effort to get out for a couple of nice long walks recently. So on Saturday the 5th we headed out on a bus to Horseheath and walked back home along the Roman Road via Wandlebury (and a rather good tea shop at the top of the hill), and then this Sunday (the 12th) we took a train to Newport (the one in Essex) and walked from there to Haverhill, where we could get a bus home. Both were lovely walks - though we got very rained on during the first one, as well as lots of sun. I've popped routes and some photos on everytrail for both of them, and I'll have a go at embedding them below.

Roman Road from Horseheath to Wandlebury

Newport to Haverhill

Other than that we've not been up to much. I've joined the gym at Addenbrookes as an associate member so I can go along with Clare to pilates classes - I'll probably give some of their other classes a try at some point too. I've also had a pleasant evening out at the regular Girl Geek Dinner event which is now being run in Cambridge by Laura - hopefully I'll go along to some more in future too. And of course we've been rather distracted for a couple of weeks by lots of Olympics happening - some of which I've really really enjoyed.

Work however has been rather more exciting than usual this week. We had a scheduled power outage over the weekend, for some work to be done on the department's substation, and arranged to shut down all the computers in advance as a precaution - since they don't have enough backup power to last that long. Unfortunately it seems the way our aircon system works means our computer room is rather more humid than normal, and it looks like they cooled down enough to be affected by condensation - resulting in quite a few computers having problems when they were powered back on again after the weekend. There's only really one machine which is my baby - and that's our database server - so it was a bit of a shock to have to spend some time rebuilding the operating system from scratch. Thankfully the data itself was all on mirrored partitions and was fine, but we've definitely made sure everything is rather better packaged and documented to make it easier to fix if we ever have problems in the future.

Thankfully all that's sorted now, so I can go away on holiday with a clear conscience, and look forward to some lovely scenery, some hiking in proper hills, seeing Mum and Dad at the weekend in our cottage in Keswick, and then a few days in a lovely hotel in Windermere too. It's going to be great. Just need to pack first :)

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In March 2010 Mike and I went on a walk (as we often do) and picked a route from the local OS map from Great Chesterford to Linton - allowing us to get a train there, then visit Linton Zoo and get a bus home. We noticed on the walk that the route was waymarked as the Icknield Way, and decided to find out more. We bought ourselves a guide to the route from The Icknield Way Association's webpages, and over the last couple of years we've gradually been doing more sections, a day at a time, with the help of buses and trains - doing some sections West to East for convenience of transport. Finally this weekend we took a train to Cheddington in Buckinghamshire, and spent 3 days finishing it off. It may not have National Trail status, but it's still a great walk, and in places it's utterly lovely.

I've finally put together our maps and photos on one site, so here they are:

It's been a fantastic three days finishing it off - the only trouble now is working out where to walk next!

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Earlier this year we walked from Great Chesterford to Linton, and also from Great Chesterford to Royston, in opposite directions but both sections of the Ickneild Way. We decided it might be nice to walk some more of it, so Mike ordered a guidebook online and when it arrived this week we decided it was time to set out and do the next section from Royston to Baldock.

So today we got up at 8:30am, and we on a train to Royston arriving by about 9:45, with our bags full of food and water, a camera, binoculars, bird book, flower book, sunblock and GPS. We don't travel light :) We set off at a nice pace and soon reached the Therfield Heath, where we had our first mini adventure, trying to find the path from among the many unsignposted routes by the golf course. Not helped by the fact the guidebook's directions are all based on doing the walk in the other direction! Still eventually it was discovered and we were on our way striking away from the roads and into the countryside

It's been a gorgeous day - no sign of the solid white cloud forecast for all afternoon we had quite a lot of sunshine in the end, which brought out all the butterflies, and we were quite slow at first, taking lots of photos and tasting the cherries growing wild along the route. At Therfield it was just a tad too early to stop for lunch at the pub, not least because it wasn't open yet, so we pressed on towards Sandon, expecting to to take us maybe an hour to get there.

Following byways through the woods we missed a turn, and found ourselves in Church Green, with no sign of a way marking arrow. We struck out in the approximate right direction, and after 1/4 of a mile we realised we'd definitely made a mistake, and puzzled out that it was quite a way back. Should we turn back, or continue? I know, let's check the GPS! Oh, it's run out of batteries. How stupid. Mike hadn't been able to get a local OS map of the area, and the guidebook turned out to be hopeless because although it maps the route it doesn't show *anything* away from the route. We were a bit worried at this point, but continued on and found a sign pointing to Sandon and breathed a sigh of relief. It was another mile at least before we got back to the path though, and I dread to think how long our detour was in total!

Still, we ate our lunch on Sandon village green in the sunshine, watching the ducks in the duck pond, and nodding hello to several passing cyclists. From Sandon the route was quite clear for a while, although it was a little alarming being followed by a posse of young bulls across a field. As we neared Wallington (where Uncle Eric lived and was married) we completely lost the path again, and although we didn't add much extra distance we definitely got a bit frazzled and lost a a bit of time.

From there we followed a long bridleway towards Clothall, without too much in the way of misadventure, and only had one more slight detour from the route before striking downhill and over the A505 into Royston. Stopping at the nearest pub for a very welcome treat before making our rather weary way to the station for the train home. We reached Baldock station about 7.5 hours after leaving Royston, tired and slightly sunkissed. And boy am I glad I'll be on the bike and not on foot tomorrow.

Getting home it looks like the GPS managed about 4 miles of data before it ran out of battery, but I shall attempt to recreate the rest with the magic of google maps at some point. Photos are available (to all, not just members) on Facebook: Photos.

Edit: A slightly rough and ready sketch map shows we walked about 16 miles, plus another mile to and from the station this end. That would explain why I ache :)

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Day 1: Gargrave

rest of week )

In each case click through for the full gallery, public on Facebook.

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I've got in a bad habit lately of posting minor stuff on Facebook and nothing here on Livejournal. But the fact FB has now started importing people's journals properly again (judging from the sudden rash of old posts on my friends pages) I've been prompted to come and say hello :)

Not a huge lot to say mind, I've been chilling out, playing a bit of Sims World Adventures (The Sims meets Indiana Jones), a bit of Lego Batman (which we've now finished apart from one really *stupid* bit where you have to ski down a slope and get through all the gates and it's almost impossible). We had a second long walk after our Roman one - from Great Chesterford to Royston mostly along the Ickneild Way. Managed not to get burnt again and had a lovely pub lunch on the way.

All this walking is sneaky practice for our summer holiday: walking the Pennine Way from Gargrave to Appleby (two points just about on the way which conveniently have train stations :). Mum and dad are going to come and say hi and stay with us for the first night in Gargrave which should be lovely. We're still planning the wedding too, with me having contacted hotels and DJs this week - and having got our wedding rings a few weeks back. It's lovely to have my anniversary/engagement ring back and fitting again too!

Back to the hospital next week for a check up at the parathyroid clinic: had blood tests this week to check hormone level and calcium levels so they should have the results of those and the ones I had done in January. Hopefully all should be well. And I'm still gradually losing weight, and hoping when I go back to see the GP next month my blood tests there will be all good too, even though I'm not taking meds any more. I really don't want to have to start taking them again!

S'all good really.

Oh yes and of course I'm off to vote later today, although I doubt I'll be staying up for the election results tonight. I doubt it's going to be terribly good news in the morning no matter what the result is, but it could well be interesting!

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Friday afternoon Mike and I took off, and went to chat with one of the team at Queens' about details for our Wedding: things like rough timings, and plans for numbers in the day and evening, a vague idea of what we might choose to eat, and knowing when they need to know final numbers and so on. It was useful. Then we went shopping, and bought walking socks for our summer holiday in the Pennines :) And went and chose and ordered wedding rings. It was a nice afternoon.

Yesterday afternoon Mike's parents arrived for the weekend. Taking advantage of the mild weather we went off for a tramp around Wandlebury: through the woods and down to the roman road, and round the ring ditch where we followed a kestrel from tree to tree for a short while. We went into town in the evening, and tried out the new Côte restaurant on Bridge Street - we weren't really sure what to expect, but were pleased to find a fairly classic French menu: I had steak tartare followed by moules frites, Mike had paté de fois gras and steak haché, whereas Evan and Gina both skipped the starters and went for coq au vin. Lovely light bottle of red to go with it and nice puddings. We'll definitely be back.

And today the weather has been even nicer, so we hopped in their car and headed over to Wimpole. I don't know what it is with parents and National Trust properties lately: the other week we went to Anglesey Abbey and found it packed with people come for the snowdrops: today it turns out Wimpole was having a bonus day with free entry for everyone, including to the home farm where they're in the middle of lambing. We had a lovely time, and Mike took loads of photos, which I'll post on Facebook as soon as it will let me upload them. And as well as some very cute farm animals (and some very tame sparrows) we also added a treecreeper and some jackdaws to the list of birds spotted so far this year. And we had a lovely walk up through the park past the lake (which you can't even see from the house) to the Gothic Folly on the hill. Lovely and warm in the sun, shirtsleeves weather! Home for a lovely late lunch, with the patio door open to let the sunshine (and the neighbour's cat) in. Fab. It's a shame they had to head off so soon for the drive home.

Now that's what I call a nice weekend.

Addendum: photos

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Finally mapped our two long walks in Devon, you can see them here: Haldon area and Dartmoor. 9.2 and 7.3 miles respectively with 1800 and 1300 feet of climbing. No wonder my knees hated me afterwards! The elevation profiles are pretty cool though, and if you zoom in you can see the rocks that make up Grimspound.

Pre-assessment yesterday took all afternoon, but I've been given a clean enough bill of health (despite an irritating blood pressure reading of 158/86), so surgery is on for tomorrow. Alarm clock is set for implausibly early (by our standards) so I can get to the hospital by 7am, for a mid to late-morning surgery. They expect it'll last 45 minutes max, but I doubt I'll be allowed home before the evening. My bag's all packed and I'm pretty much ready to go, if nervous. I suspect I may not get the best night's sleep :)

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Just over a week ago ... )

But we had a wonderful time, and to be honest I actually enjoy the train journeys too. A fabulous holiday, and a day off today to recover from the travelling, and somehow I'm not looking forward to going back to work tomorrow, or to surgery next week for that matter, but boy do I feel fit after all that exercise :)

Photos of Haldon, Exeter, Dawlish and Dartmoor are on Facebook (you shouldn't need an account to see them at those links). At some point I may try to map our walks too.

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We had an Easter: Sion and Ingi renewed their wedding vows with a touching ceremony in the light rain in their garden, and a lovely party. And Jan and Owen stayed over so we had a lovely big fry-up for breakfast and lots of chocolate on Easter Sunday itself. And on the Monday we cycled out along the Shelford-Addies bike path and finally got to go for a walk around the little nature reserve and see the Nine Wells springs and the obelisk, as well as assorted birds and wild violets.

Mike and I took Monday and Tuesday off work this week, and had another lovely long weekend. Gardening on Sunday, a long walk out at the gogs on Monday which resulted in minor sunburn (why do I never learn that even in April it's not safe to go out for two hours in a strappy top at lunchtime on a sunny day?). And yesterday was Mike's birthday: we cycled into town to go shopping shopping and had a nice late lunch at Tatties, then came home and spent the afternoon playing Lego Indiana Jones on the wii: one of the few games where game play is much improved by having two players! Then we headed back out on the bus for dinner. The plan was to go to Alimentum, but I hadn't booked, and they seemed to have some sort of function on. We weren't sure if they also had normal tables through in the other room, but it was impossible to say how long it would be before anyone would be available to ask, since the function guests were just arriving and standing around drinking bubbly. So we took plan B and went to Nando's instead, which was fun and tasty if not in the same league. We'll just have to go to Alimentum another time. I've bought Mike membership to the National Trust for a year for his birthday, with me as joint member, so it looks like we'll have to make some holiday plans around that later in the year.

As you can tell from all the cycling and walking my ankle really is getting much better. I've had my first two physio appointments, and am improving vastly. Exercises include practicing standing on one leg and on tiptoes, and now trying to balance on a wobble board. More fun than exercise! I'm wearing my walking boots whenever I'm out and about, and have a walking stick borrowed from Anna: I always feel like I'm barely using it, but then I try walking about without it and find I'm much more hobbling. So today is my first day back in the office completely under my own steam, and it feels very liberating. And all the more new and exciting because the main route into the department has finished being resurfaced and they've finished demolishing the portacabins in the courtyard (which have been here longer than I have) and we're soon going to be moving into a new office, so it's all very shiny.

If I hadn't had my bike key disintegrate on me earlier (now fixed with sellotape) or discovered this morning that the fridge door had been left open a crack and the light had cooked everything on the top shelf it would be a really brilliant day. I still haven't heard from Addies about an appointment to sort out my overactive parathyroid, but I've chased via the GP, and have instructions to chase again in about a week's time. All in all life's pretty damned good though.

August 2017

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