What is there to see on a walk?

We have recently returned from a few days away in Dorset to celebrate my birthday. On the way we broke our journey by stopping for lunch in a lovely pub in Somerset. The waitress who served us was very friendly and we got chatting, talking to her about our holiday and our plans to go walking. Her response was to ask, ‘What is there to see on a walk?’ indicating that she would find it boring as there is nothing to look at.

The following day we did a walk in the picturesque Dorset countryside and as I was enjoying the wildlife, the flowers and the scenery I realised how much there is to see on a walk. I wished that she had been there with us so that I could show her all the interesting and beautiful sights that our countryside has to offer. As that wasn’t possible I thought that instead I would share them with you, in case you’ve never been on a ramble and are of the same mind that ‘there isn’t anything to see’. So here we go, a few of the things that we saw…

Picturesque villages

Where we started our walk

Thatched houses, many with wisterias in flower

We saw so many houses with beautiful wisterias

Cowslips

Bluebells

Where we stopped for coffee

Deer

We saw deer on two occasions in one day – a single one and then a group of three

A kestrel catching a vole

A nuthatch

A yellowhammer

A wren

Rape fields

The footpath went right through the middle of this field

Cerne Abbas chalk giant

Thought to be a fertility symbol

Curious cows

Fortunately they were on the other side of the fence

This wasn’t a walk through the wilds of Scotland or some exotic land, it was a few miles across English countryside and yet we saw all of this. I must admit that we wouldn’t have seen some of the birds as well if we hadn’t had our binoculars with us – if you read my staycation posts you will know that we like to do a bit of birdwatching.  A good pair of binoculars can be expensive, but they are usually a once in a lifetime purchase. If you just fancy having a go to see if you might enjoy looking at our feathered friends you can buy a small pair on Amazon for under £20.

As the weather is improving, why not get out into the countryside and find out what you can see. At this time of year the bluebells are amazing – creating a blue carpet in many of our woodlands and the smell is divine. You can find some near you on the Woodland Trust website. You may want to take an ordnance survey map with you if you have one, but if you don’t try just going to a country park for a few hours. If you take a picnic you can make a day of it – a no spend day!

I must admit ours wasn’t quite that as we treated ourselves to tea and cake in Cerne Abbas – we were on holiday after all!

In Praise of the Library

Libraries- an amazing and free resource in every town

Do you know everything that is available at your local library?

We all know that you can get books, but do you know what else is available? Actually I’m not sure if everyone knows that you can get books, as I do seem to meet a lot of people who never go to the library, or at least last went when they were a child.

I am a regular at the library. In fact, at one point I was reserving so many books that a staff member said that she knew our answerphone message off by heart having listened to it almost every week when she rang to say that my books were ready to collect.

I have to say that our library service is fabulous. You can reserve books online from any library in the county and they will bring it to your local library for you collect. In addition, they can request books from several neighbouring authorities for you. Each of these services is free.

In my younger days I used to spend a lot of money buying novels, but after reading them once they then usually sat on the shelf for years collecting dust. I still love buying books, but now I reserve my money for non-fiction.

I use the library mainly for novels and love just to pick a book off the shelf if it looks interesting. As it’s completely free of charge it doesn’t matter if I only manage to read a few pages and then decide to take it back. Where else can you borrow something, use it for its intended purpose and then take it back when you’ve finished and pay absolutely nothing?

Occasionally I pick non-fiction books off the shelf, normally ones about food, finances or lifestyle. We have often reserved a newly-released cookery book to see if we would be interested in buying it.  I will try out a few of the recipes and if we enjoy them then I may order it.

Download an audiobook

Apart from paper books I have also downloaded audiobooks to listen to in the car. Most libraries appear to have these available, along with e-books and again they are free.

A little bit of recent research has also shown that the following are available in libraries throughout the country, mostly for free:

  • Online magazines
  • Online newspapers
  • Researching your family tree – you may have to go into the library rather than access it remotely.
  • Reading groups
  • DVDs
  • Book prescriptions
  • Digital drop-ins – help with computers, tablets, etc.
  • Careers advice e.g. help with cvs and job-hunting
  • Researching companies
  • Business support -workshops and seminars e.g. market research resources, how to grow your business
  • Webinars
  • Free one to one business advice
  • Activities for children, e.g. craft events, messy play.

So, if you don’t use your local library, shame on you.

If you do, but it’s only for books, maybe have a look at what else they offer.

If you’ve cancelled that magazine subscription in order to save a bit of money you might be able to read it for free online.

If you miss immersing yourself in the day’s news, check out online newspapers.