Moving on

As everyone who knows me, the last 18 months have been tough.

We all have work issues, I am sure a lot of us would rather not work, but rather follow our hobby or leisure interests. But we are in the real world, where bills need to be paid & to indulge in our interests those need to be funded.

Being in a work environment where you are constantly made to feel worthless, is like a bad relationship. It is constant, day after day, chipping away at you, eventually it becomes ingrained & you believe what you hear. You truly start to believe when they say you are useless at your job, you feel you have no voice, no opinion, you become worthless.

How do you break that cycle. Well as the bullies are chipping away, family & good friends are too. They keep reinforcing what a good person you are, your opinion does matter, they want to hear your voice, they ask for your opinion.

Then you start to fight back, a little at a time. In my case I scuttled off in Louise, took the weekends to recharge batteries, talk to strangers who want to hear your adventures, who think what you have done & are doing is incredible & shows a strength of personality.

So little seeds start to grow, you put out feelers, in my case CVs, you get a few knock backs, but with help of family & friends, you dust yourself off & you start again.

Then you get the news, someone thinks you have something to offer & they want you to be part of that team. You feel elated & think perhaps I am not totally worthless.

You close the door on the bullies, you open a new door to new work beginnings. No one knows what the future may be, but like all new relationships, you have to take those tentative first steps.

I got thanked at the end of my first week, for all my hard work & the difference I had already made. I cannot tell you how that made me feel.

So it may take time, but I will move on. I will dust myself down, I will find the Jenny who has been hidden for so long.

My advice… remember it is not you, it is them that has the problem.

You are the better person, you & only you have the power to change your destiny. But remember you are never alone, family & friends will always come & start the new walk with you…

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As one chapter finishes..

So as another long & rather painful chapter of my life closes, another one opens.

The last 12 months in particular have not been easy at work. The constant chip, chip, like a mason at work, on my confidence & abilities has taken its toll & I know will take some time to recover. I am resilient but it has even stretched me.

But tomorrow after my last day, a new door opens, no idea where it will take me, but I am holding on & going for the ride!!

What has got me through….well certainly Louise…

She has certainly helped in me escaping most weekends & grabbing the freedom she has given me despite the weather.

But family, friends & my lovely Twitter community, some of whom I have been lucky to meet…have supported me & got me through these particular dark & difficult last few weeks.

My countdown days have sparked fun & banter & I thank them all for that.

So with best foot forward, it is time to brush myself down, sleep a little, love myself a little, find my true smile & inner self & start again.

Jenny will be back…god help us all!!

Ready for a 10 day road trip – better than sitting on a sofa…

Well I am tantalising close to go off in Louise for our longest trip – 10 days in total to one of my favourite places, Scotland. Scotland feels like home, I have Scottish blood in me, my birth father was Scottish, it all makes sense to me.

I know some may think I go off most weekends & how lucky I am, but it helps in keeping the loneliness at bay. I work hard, make sacrifices & have to work with Muppets to keep her.

When I go off in Louise I meet some incredible & interesting people from all walks of life who leave a good foot print on my soul. This photo of a lady is one I walked with, but not in the direction I intended, but she was too interesting not too, I still think about her.

As my favourite expression goes, this walking malarky…. is better than sitting on a sofa!

So with only a day to go, Louise is packed & ready.

But you know the most exciting thing, I know I am going to meet interesting people with stories to tell, I know I am going to experience being out on the hills, I know I am going to fill those memory boxes, but I just don’t know what they are yet…

Louise…

Louise is my campervan.

Nothing strange about that, but I have wanted a campervan for years. Just the thought it would bring freedom, the open road, you can park up wherever you wish. Boundaries are suddenly gone.

I had another ‘lightbulb’ moment in Skye, whilst spreading some of my Mum’s ashes in the Fairy Pools at Glen Brittle.

It was a particular bad spell in weather & I was sitting it out, a string of events then made me think that a campervan was possible.

I came home & started my research. Within a week I had sorted funds & disposed of my nearly new car for a run around!

I gained advice from people who had one. My Twitter friend Gary was a great source after he had bought & converted his own van.

So with encouragement from a very good friend, I went a hunting. After a few dead ends & some dubious offerings(!), we went to Newcastle & I met Louise & knew she had to be mine. It took some negotiations, but I got her.

Why the name Louise. It is very simple, my birth Mum sadly passed away this year, it was the name she gave me when I was born. My sister Denine in her commeration, called her an adventurer & I knew she would be really happy the opportunities Louise would give me.

So 3 weeks later I picked her up.

The following day I took Louise to Eskdale in the Lakes.

We had a lovely weekend. I was wondering how driving a van would feel. But driving on the country roads behind the wheel, I felt so good & knew it would not be a problem.

I went for a walk, followed by a celebratory prosecco & a celebration meal of steak, onions & potatoes.

What I have loved is my friends response to Louise. I am a big Twitter fan, I have met so many people from Twitter. Their response to Louise is amazing & my friends encourage & embrace Louise & our adventures!

Someone recently suggested Louise should have her own Twitter account…maybe…let us see!!

Bank Holiday Base Camp

Base Camp I can hear you say, that is what I call campsite camping…bit like holibobs is holidays…you get the picture?

So off I went to camp at Patterdale YHA campsite, probably the quietest camp site in the Lakes on a Bank Holiday. For an annual membership of £15, you can camp for £11 per night with all the facilities they have for those staying inside, but fraction of the cost. They have a licensed bar too..! They work on numbers, so if YHA is full, they will only allow a few tents & you get the bonus of a quiet campsite. At one point there were more Herdy’s than tents!

I do love a good base camp, it’s time to unwind, put your feet up & chill, for me with my kindle. My one luxury is my duvet, it does not matter how cold it is, my duvet keeps me so snug. I also like to take a blanket & bed socks, I am then happy to sit in my tent, no matter what the weather is doing outside.

So on Saturday I decided a gentle walk was in order. So boots on, backpack packed with quiche, olives, crisps & chocolate, off I went to walk from Patterdale to Howtown.

I have done this walk a few times in both directions & I am always surprised on its length & ascent, it’s nearly 11km & over 300m.

I do love the way the walk winds & bends around the gorgeous Ullswater Lake & you are in constant anticipation of your next view & no matter what the weather as you turn each corner, it never disappoints.

I decided to take the ferry back for £8 it takes you back from Howtown to Glenridding. I think it’s very good value & gives a different perspective over Ullswater Lake. I also learnt it is the second largest lake & is approximately 9 miles long!

On my return to civilisation however, all my peace was shattered as my phone went into melt down, with texts, calls, messages & voicemails. My Facebook had been hacked & my lovely family & friends had requests for money supposedly from me, purporting I was having issues with online banking & needed money to be transferred asap. Sadly someone believed it was me & lost money. I am still coming to terms with this violation of privacy & my friends loss of money. Needless to say I changed my password etc & looking at security on all my accounts. A lesson for us all.

So Sunday was a wash out, it is the Lakes after all! So off to Keswick to get Berghaus waterproof trousers. After much winter bum walking in the icy conditions & coming down a side of a mountain on my bum in the snow, a new pair were required!

Monday I packed tent down in the rain. I called in to Aira Force Waterfalls on way home, never been there before. After all the Facebook troubles there was something soothing listening to the waterfalls & thankfully was not too busy.

It was then time to head home & start to think about my next trip….

Wild Camp with my new Osprey Xena 70L

I have been having problems with my shoulder since a fall outside on the ice in the winter. My once ultra lite rucksack which had been comfy, was no more.

So after a visit to my friend Chrissie, where I received good advice & a try on with her Osprey Xena 70l I took the decision to replace.

It’s first outing was going to be a gentle affair, a flat walk, time to adjust see how it feels. But I never like to do anything easy, so in for a penny in for a pound as they say!

Friday night after work was a quiet peaceful affair at the end of the Langdales, with the sun shining.

So on Saturday morning, me & my new trusty bag packed, off I went for a slog/walk up to Red Tarn. Anyone who walks with me knows I don’t walk fast, I like to call it Alp pace!

When I got to the top the view was breathtaking & so worth the effort. When I stand at the top, I always feel priviledged & grateful that I am able to do this, maybe not as easy as it is for some, but I get there & I thank the mountains for their pure beauty.

So next step was to find out what would be the non existent path after Great Knott down towards Ulpha Fell. It does not exist like many paths in the Lakes, my OS & View Ranger said it did…but it decided to hide…well & truly…I did get this cracking pic though whilst looking for it!

After a knee crunching descent off piste I made it to the bottom on the Roman Road & was grateful for the respite to walk on a fairly flat road.

Then after short while off up Mosadale valley. Now I don’t have a good track record with bovines, they like to chase me…honest…so my heart fell heavy when I saw the cows looming ahead of me. I was tired, my bag had needed quite a bit of adjustment during the day, which I expected, but I did not need this. So off piste again away from the track & rejoined some distance on!

Weather is now turning & I decided to pitch near to the beck & settled for the night.

The next morning weather was wet & the clag down…but me & my new friend now wearing a rather fetching waterproof orange cover, moved on.

My walk up to Three Tarns was a better path than I thought, until near the top, when it became more like an obstacle course with waterfalls everywhere skimming over the boulder rocks. I knew there was a reason I had never taken up climbing!

At the top though I was rewarded with this view of Langdale Valley & all the exertion of getting there was soon forgotten.

After a good walk down The Band, I soon arrived back at my starting place. I turned around for one last look & was rewarded with this.

As for my Osprey, it is like anything, it will take time for my body & the bag to adjust to one another. It is a good solid bag, with lots of compartments, a sturdy hip belt & padded shoulders.

I know soon we will become best of friends.