November started foggy and insanely colourful, exactly the same as this time last year when I was in the Lake District with Angeliqa and Steve. I happily recalled the memories from that weekend as I walked around the small fishing lake near my house on the first day of the month, admiring the reds and golds of autumn, heavy in the trees.
I can barely recall such a stunning autumn. With all the bad vibes that 2016 has brought, it certainly has given us the most beautiful autumn in memory. I’ve been driving along roads open mouthed in wonder at all the different shades nature can produce. It makes the heart ache a little to know it is only for a short while. I already miss it and its still here and I am eagerly anticipating the next one. Sometimes I think I would be happy if it were autumn all the time.
The beginning of November was marked by Magnus’ 5th birthday, so we walked with his two sisters to celebrate. This is a tradition we try and uphold every year on bonfire night, but sadly this is the first one without his mother. November was also marred by the loss of our family cat Ozzy who was put to sleep due to a rapidly growing tumour, only a few weeks after our other cat Selena was put to rest for a similar reason. It seems so bizarre to lose two cats in such a short space of time, but it seems to happen a lot, when two pets go downhill together. You’d like to think there is something romantic about it, but it always feels a little sinister, like there is some environmental reason. I’m too sad to post pictures of them, I haven’t been able to face their loss very well at all really. The pain of losing one more life dear to me, even that of an animal is quite difficult to bear, so I just push the feelings to the back of my heart.
During the first part of the month it was extremely difficult to function and I was just feeling so tired all the time. I’m definitely not alone in feeling this way I know, I’m sure it is to do with the change in seasons or perhaps IBD related in my case, even partially.
It was so frustrating when there are so many things on my list that I wanted to complete. I tried to be kind to myself and make sure I got out in the sun daily, driving somewhere new to walk with Magnus, to shake off the fatigue and the cabin fever that working from home in the winter months intensifies. I’ve been trying different routines to help myself feel more productive and be less stressed, ones that work with the huge change in daylight and weather.
I often think about what if it were the norm, in this country at least, to adapt working life with the seasons, bringing more harmony into our working lives and home lives. I’m very grateful to have a higher degree of flexibility and control than most over the order of my day. It’s something that is very important to me and I wonder if we will see a shift in the future in the way we work, especially in desk based work.
As the days have grown shorter, I’ve gone from two shorter walks with Magnus daily to one long walk in the middle of the day, fitting in work and personal admin as soon as I’m awake and alert and then cosying up in the evenings to finish my work off for the day, instead of fitting in a short walk, working all day until dark then walking again. So far i’m enjoying this approach, as it gives you a true relaxing break in the day, though I need to be careful to keep my energy and concentrations levels up as night time approaches.
I’ve also tried to make sure I get out at weekends more and fitting in extra work when it is dark. I booked a place on a foraging and wild cooking course, which was a wonderful way to spend a day in the woods. I also joined a walking group for a long hike in an area i’ve never explored nearby and i’m looking forward to doing it more often.
As a result of my new routine, walks with Magnus have been great this month, with friends and their dogs and on my own, visiting various nearby forests and beauty spots. I have a video that I want to share of Magnus meeting a baby cow, which was the sweetest thing ever, but I can’t seem to upload it right now. It is on Magnus’ very own Instagram account though. I discovered part of the North Downs Way which runs very close to where I live and I have been day dreaming about walking the whole thing for a while..
In the latter part of November, I was reunited with Angeliqa in London for an evening after work, happy to be seeing her so soon after finishing St. Olavsleden together. We had a lovely catch up with our partners in the city. It was kind of odd to be both be in normal clothes, eating restaurant food (Jamie Olivers Diner in Piccadilly does some great food) and surrounded by the bustle of the city, as every time we’ve ever hung out previously it has been mostly for hiking, except for the couple of days at the end of our walk in Trondheim. So good to see her again!
The day after we met up, I awoke with the sorest throat (not a hangover!) but the beginnings of a cold that is still lingering with me into December. I’ve been getting through boxes of Lemsip in an effort to keep going and this was also a perfect excuse to drink Nyponsoppa (Swedish Rosehip Soup) for a vitamin boost at a time when all I want to eat is bread. I’ve started to crave some things I ate in Sweden that I didn’t think I would ever want to see again, though Nyponsoppa isn’t one of those! I’m glad to be able to source a few Swedish treats from Scandikitchen here in the UK.
Starting with tiredness and ending the month feeling ill has left me feeling really frustrated productivity wise, but i’m trying to not dwell on it. I also couldn’t celebrate my Mum’s birthday with her properly, terrified of giving her my cold while she is on chemo, but eventually I made it up to her with a trip to the cinema and a roast dinner, despite refusing to hug or breathe near her.
Despite feeling super rough, I’ve been enjoying the freezing cold temperatures and frosty mornings we’ve been having at the end of the month. They’ve pepped up my walks nicely, in a visual appreciation kinda way. When it is frosty I take delight in looking at how frost forms on everything, it is just lovely. I’m definitely a January girl through and through. Give me cold weather any day, all I need now is some snow..
We started December with a beautifully sunny but chilly walk on the North Downs with Magnus and finding this years Christmas tree. The Christmas decorations are up, i’ve had my first mulled wine of the festive season and i’m ready for a wonderful December. Hopefully one that will be super productive, ready to start the new year.